The Plague Of American Art Essay

1674 words - 7 pages

The Plague of American Art
In 1965, the American art scene changed forever. When the National Endowment for the Arts came into being, there was high hopes for a more egalitarian art world that would spread wide-ranging ideas between the coasts, but, in the art world post-NEA founding, dark clouds were forming. The NEA is no longer a sustainable avenue of preserving and producing American art..
The arts have and will survive the test of time without the National Endowment for the Arts. According to Katherine Boyle, "Individuals have always been the backbone of arts funding" (Boyle). Before 1965, the upper echelons always supported the arts. For example, the Vanderbilts supported many "starving" artists like Picasso. However, the common man was not able to participate in funding the arts because many influential art organizations and individuals desired only large donations. The NEA was intended to alleviate this problem by eliminating the undue influence of the wealthy on the arts, but now this is not a problem. New organizations like Kickstart have allowed more people to fund the arts. "Kickstart funded roughly $323.6 million of art-related projects" (Boyle). This money, pooled from individuals from all walks of life, is nearly double the the yearly budget for the NEA. The NEA was never the answer for getting the middle and lower classes involved. It was crowd-funding. Now wealthy and poor donors alike are donating about $13 billion dollars to the arts each year (Boyle). That number is only growing. With donations across the hierarchal spectrum being received, the National Endowment for the Art's purpose is no longer valid. The wealthy are no longer inordinately influencing art.
Funding multibillion dollar institutions does not fit in with the NEA's mission. In the past fiscal year, the NEA has donated several hundred thousand dollars to educational institutions who have a surfeit of funds. ?"Yale was given $80,000 "to support research and restoration of The Madonna and Child with Saint Jerome and Vincent Ferrer by… Piero di Cosimo" ("National Endowment for the Arts-2013"). For the record, Yale University's endowment is $19,264,289,000 (Haynie). The Massachusetts Institute of Technology also was given $30,000 "to support the Community Outreach Enrichment project ("National Endowment for the Arts-2013"). MIT also has a multibillion dollar endowment of $10,149,564,000 (Haynie). (BrownXXXXXXXX) These universities are not scant in funding, so why should the United States taxpayers have to pay for private universities' wants. If these projects were integral to the mission and identity of the respective universities, then they should be able to foot the bill of their expenses with the billions of dollars they have at their disposal. It is reckless for the NEA to provide such funding when there are fledgling artists trying to make a living, struggling to feed their children. The NEA is a non-profit organization who should...

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