Government Funding of The Fine Arts

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With cities spattered in looming cathedrals and marble sculptures and with bookshelves still faithful to classic works of literature and performance, the arts have proved themselves durable to the test of time. Long have these creations provided undying testament to mankind’s achievement and a window into the past. Perhaps no other category of art lends itself more to a view of history than the fine arts, or high arts, tradition with its well preserved pieces guarded and carefully designed to withstand the battery of time. Works belonging to the fine arts tradition were historically kept alive through wealthy benefactors. However, economic classes began to level out, and wealth was no longer restricted to the few considered “elite”. Now, the financial support of the fine arts is a decision that requires the input of many and so the decision becomes that of elected officials. With a decrease in available private subsidizing, government must step in to provide funding for the fine arts in an attempt to reap the many benefits towards the economy, the culture, and society as a whole.

Unlike works in the folk arts and popular arts traditions, whose utility and prevalence make them easily marketable, the meaning behind works in the fine arts tradition is simply lost in time and so lacks current relevance. Works such as these, that have lost patronage due to shifting economic classes, require funding from government organizations to stay afloat amongst an audience that values the latest in innovation (INART005). Once seen as crucial entertainment and historical reference, private donors allayed the cost of the fine arts. Their value as testimony to the record of a society was held high. In some instances, artwork is the on...

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... artists long past who made the effort to create lasting testaments to the existence of their cultures for future generations to see.

Works Cited

Bergheim, Laura A, and Kathleen Culver. “National Endowment for the Arts.” Dictionaryof American History 5.3 (2003): 535-536. Gale. Web. 10 Sep. 2011.

Brooks, Arthur C. “Who opposes government arts funding?” Public Choice 108 (2001): 355-357. JSTOR. Web. 10 Sep. 2011.

INART005 Performing Arts. The College of Arts & Architecture at The Pennsylvania State University, 2011. Web. 7 April 2011.

National Endowment for the Arts. National Endowment for the Arts. Web. 10 Sep. 2011.

Radbourne, Jennifer. “Social Intervention or Market Intervention? A Problem for Governments in Promoting the Value of the Arts.” International Journal of Arts Management 5.1 (2002): 50-61. Proquest Research Library: The Arts. Web. 10 Sep. 2011.
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