The latest in a series of questionnaires appeared in my inbox this morning. This came from the Alliance for a Grand Community, a group of nine organizations working for the benefit of the local arts community.
It includes such organizations as the Clay and Glass Gallery in Uptown Waterloo. There's no question it's tough slogging for arts groups, and artists. There's a reason there's the stereotype of the "starving artist"
Competition for sponsorship dollars is intense, and sponsors, quite naturally gravitate to those activities from which they are likely to get the biggest bang for their buck. So governments are often asked to subsidize these activities, which in the interests of creating a diverse fabric in the community, seems to make some sense, There's no question arts and culture are important,
Sadly, passion, and talent doesn't always translate into profitability and popularity. People do tend to vote with their disposable income,
Sometimes the general public is criticized for that, for "not understanding" some branch of the arts. That's not fair, because people are allowed to choose what they like, and place a value on that.
All that being said, I can support financial help for arts organizations, But I do have an issue. In my mind, every organization, arts, culture, sports or whatever should always be striving for self sufficiency. In other words, if your group gets 100 thousand dollars from the city this year, the goal,should be able to generate enough paying. customers , and sponsorship to perhaps make do with a little less the next year.
You might never get to the point of not needing support, but that should still be the goal.
Most people, I believe would see that as a reasonable idea.