Hello! Today State of the Artist highly recommends that you check out Diane Ragsdale’s article, “What are the aims of direct subsidies to artists?” on Jumper.
Direct grants to artists may make it possible for an artist, at a particular point in his or her career, to make (better or more ambitious) work (by removing the necessity to maintain a day job). Funds may be used to help an artist acquire a critical resource or asset that has longer term returns (a marketable artistic output, knowledge and skills, marketing and promotion, staff, representation, a piece of equipment, a studio, a car, etc.). And often direct grants (particularly if competitive or associated with awards) send a signal to other gatekeepers (funders, donors, producers, press, intermediaries, curators, etc.) that a particular artist is worthy of time and support and may result in more resources and attention flowing to that artist. (It may be worth noting, however, that this ‘signaling’ effect can contribute to the ‘winner-take-all’ phenomenon that sometimes exists in the arts and make it even more difficult for new entrants to emerge and find resources.)
However, it seems to me that direct grants to artists are unlikely to (1) solve the longer-term systemic issue (which Polly also points out in her post) that funding to arts organizations in the US seems to increase flows not to artists but rather to buildings and administrations; and (2) (if we agree with Abbing’s point about subsidies providing incentives more people to become artists) improve the structural poverty of artists.
It seems that these two issues will require a re-thinking of some of the bedrock ideas of the arts and culture sector in the US, among them: (1) to be legitimate you need grants and to get grants you need nonprofit status and administrators; and (2) aesthetic value and market value are at odds…
Read the whole article here:
And look for fabulous new content, including Works Progress’s new video project, coming to State of the Artist next week!