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WWL@RAW: Who Pays for the Arts?
Where We Live - with John Dankosky
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In this episode:

Who should pay for the arts?


Episode Audio

48:57 minutes (23.5 MB)
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The recession has government – from federal to state to cities and towns – thinking about how to stay above water…let alone how to fund music, museums, dance and theater.

But because of the downturn, corporate and individual donations are down and endowments have also shrunk. So, without Government support, who will fund the arts?

Today a wide ranging conversation...where we hope to answer some questions. Why do we seem to care so little for public funding of the arts – compared to say, Europe? If the arts are treated as an “economic engine” – what happens when that engine stops running? Is it time to cut funding altogether? What happens when Government gives artists the money – but only for “approved” art?

And, can a city like Hartford expand its arts funding – even while trying to fill a deficit?

Coming up, Where We Live, we'll hear from the Director of The Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism, local and visiting artists – and our live audience at Real Art Ways.


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Listener Email from Gordon

Dear Where We Live,

It's sad we have to ask this question. No one wonders when we use tax dollars for a new Wal*Mart, Cabelas in East Hartford or the new Yankee Stadium. Their drag on local economies is well documented.

Yet the arts, which benefit all, lead us to ask this question.

Listener Email from Grace

Thank you for raising the question of whether or not our government should fund the arts.

Here, in Colchester, our town knows that music develops qualities of good character such as self-discipline, self-esteem, creativity, determination and teamwork. In fact, eighteen (18) of the last twenty-two (22) Bacon Academy valedictorians were four-year Band students. While this may not generate revenue today, clearly, supporting the arts in our schools will pay huge dividends in the future.

Thank you once again,
Colchester, CT

Listener Comment from Tom

Here's an observation for Karen Senich:

You say CCT has been "incredibly successful" in supporting the arts--and yet you've been enthusiastically supportive of the governor's plan to fold CCT into DECD, cut grant funding, and cut staff--all of which would hurt the arts and tourism. Your position is appointed by the governor: I have to question your dedication to CCT when you've done your best to dismantle it.

Listener Email from Patrick

On to the arts…I know that I’m a bit late, but my comment(s)/question(s) is related to much of the discussion at the beginning of the show, the stuff related to education and our relationship with the arts here in the States. One of your guests spoke of public response to controversial, big ticket art projects and how such projects create animosity between the public and the funding of arts. I would argue, though, that the animosity is more ingrained than this and it has a longer history in our society. The decision to fund such projects or to steer the money in different directions is a valid discussion, but not one that the results of which should hinge upon perceived public response. And speaking of the public’s response to the art world…we are taught from the earliest age that the arts are in many ways superfluous and expendable. In our grade schools, art programs are always the first on the chopping block. By the time our students reach middle school or high school, the arts become something to be enjoyed if you are one who finds that realm interesting and not something that is fundamentally important to who we are as humans/Americans/Connecticutions/etc. Mandatory art history or art appreciation courses in our middle/high schools would go much further in educating the public about the importance of the arts than the many public outreach programs that museums and galleries must perform. If we educate people from a young age about the arts and reduce the intimidation that many people feel surrounding this whole realm of life, we can begin to have more meaningful conversations about the funding of the arts.