Get the Government Out of the Arts

Arts education, the private sector can provide that for kids and for adults. My mom teaches art at a local store where they hold classes for kids and adults. I went to summer camp arts and crafts were never left out (along with all the horseback riding, swimming, learning all about what plants you can and can't eat while you are in the woods) as a matter of fact I never left camp without taking home an arts and crafts related project. Never mind the endless and growing number of tutorials the internet for just about any arts and craft project you can imagine. Or the fact that even the fact that through my childhood my mom took me on several trips while she took one workshop or another from other artists to become a better artist (further proof that the private sector does provide for arts education). And that's just the tip of the ice burg.

People worry that the kids won't get the chance to learn the arts if they aren't learning it in the classroom, give it a rest. The fact is that kids who are really interested in becoming better at anything can take private lessons, we've all heard of parents having their kids take music, dance, horseback riding, gymnastics, and who knows what other kind of lessons. Yes it costs the parents money and time but then it also costs the parents and all everyone who lives on their street and many total strangers beyond that to pay for the programs in the schools, and takes away their ability to take their kids out of a class that is taught by a bad teacher who can not only fail to teach effectively (only teaching effectively that what they are teaching isn't worth the experience of learning) and take their kid to a class taught by a teacher who will not only teach their child more about whatever the subject is but teach them in a way that will help them stay excited about whatever they are learning.

It doesn't matter if it's through a business or a charity, get the government out of the art teaching business if there is a demand the private sector will not only fill it but will do a better job meeting whatever demand there is than the government ever could. And that's just education.

Where I live there is some insane provision in the budget and I can't remember if it's the state budget, or something federal, or if it's one of the cities in the area but it's a rule that says 1% of the budget for a give project must be art. It doesn't matter which budget it is it's still the first 1% I'd cut from the government budget (and I say that as an artist). There are plenty of artists who just for the free advertising would probably be happy to offer some free artwork for display on whatever project is being done and all they'd ask is that the free advertising be something that could lead from that project to a sale. I've actually seen another artist do this, the offer was free picture of an animal to hang in a shop in exchange for advertising a service she was selling where for the right prices she'd paint a picture of someones pet.

This is just the matter of cost, I haven't even started on the issue of taste. When it comes to taste it doesn't matter if you are talking about buying artwork or learning to create it. The fact is that one size never did fit all. I was taught by people who really wanted to push me toward the fine arts, but I was never a fine artist. It really wasn't until I discovered digital art, and illustration that I started to understand what kind of artist I really was interested in being. For education alone while anyone can benefit from knowing the basics of how to draw any kind of picture in theory (and I can't say I'd be the same artist if I'd never been working toward being a fine artist) the fact is not everyone is looking to learn the same things. Some people are inclined to learn the fine arts, some people want to be cartoonists, some will make amazing illustrators, some are meant to work with the old fashioned pencil pen and paper, or brush and canvas, some are photographers, and while knowing a little bit about everything can't make you a worse artist that doesn't mean that everyone is going to be a better artist for learning all the same things.

One size simply does not fit all, and this is just artists who do still pictures, don't get me started on animation, preforming artists, sculptures, writers, musicians, and every other art there is out there right now or even what will exist in the future that doesn't exist right now (yes the arts will continue to change as the world changes). And I haven't even talked about how people would spend their own money differently when it comes to what artwork they would buy than the government spends their money.

There already exists a great system for people to make a living as great artists, it's called the free market. Yes I'm talking about this great place where people decide what they want to spend their money on for themselves and it's sometimes it's on things that other people think are stupid or crazy or total waste of money or whatever else. Sometimes people will spend their own money on arts and entertainment things that other people think aren't worth the time it took to find that artwork let alone the money that person spent on it.

The problem is people spending tax payer money will also spend money for things that the general public probably takes one look at is pretty sure they had to be insane to buy. And those tax payers who had their money taken from them at the point of a gun to pay for that disaster are suddenly out the money they would have loved to spend on something else on top of that for a piece of artwork that the majority of them probably wouldn't buy even if they had enough of their own money to buy it.

In tough times it's true that the average person will spend less money on arts and entertainment, but that doesn't mean artists need to have the government putting their pesky paws deeper into the arts it's that much more reason for them to get out of the arts. Let the artists who are truly great push themselves to their limits making their artwork better and marketing better quality and more effective and let the artists who just don't have the gift to start with give up.

When the government picks winners and losers everyone loses because the government is funding the performers are putting on a show that supports the political agenda of whatever politicians deciding where that funding goes where the performers are flinging monkey feces across the stage (at least I've heard that some fool(s) in the United States federal government suggested providing some funding for that show, I don't know if whatever bill had that in it was passed), mean while the rest of us EVEN OTHER ARTISTS have to pay for it.

If you are an artist, if you like the occasional piece of artwork on the wall, or even if you are just a tax payer who would have like to spend your money on something else whatever that something might have been, or even if you just know someone who fits any of those descriptions than you should be rising up and saying put the government out of the art business. Even people who don't care about art one way or the other but do care how the government is spending their money should be ready to yell and scream whatever part of the budget is being spent on the arts should be the first thing to go.
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