In 1965, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) was established by Congress as an independent agency of the federal government with numbers of specific tasks in support of the arts (2). However, most American art institutions derive their financial support on sale tickets and gifts to meet their budget needs. Those gifts could be private donations or private funds; the remaining comes from the government (3).
Arts need more money from the government. The NEA’s 1999 budget was $98 million, which is considered amazing for many people, but actually, it represents just 36 cents per American. Comparing to Sweden, the government spending on arts is about $30 per capita (1). The question about supporting arts or not is related to the effects of arts to greater or lesser government’s grants; or some might say that supporting arts is just a matter of political ideology from the government. After 12 years, from 1999 to 2011, NEA’s budget increases more than $50 million to $154,690,000 (4), but still, that is not enough. Using tax dollar to support arts would be the solution; since compared to sale tickets or donations, tax money is more available and more consistent.
On the other hand, arts need to be supported by the government, but using taxpayers’ dollars to spend on arts is disapproved by many people. Arts are considered subjective. Different people have different tastes in arts. Thus, using tax dollars to support arts would be like spending everybody’s money to satisfy a small group of people. Moreover, many artists, private art institutions, even struggling with the economy, would rather receive small private donations from arts lovers than be dependable on tax money.
Last but not least, not only arts need supports from the government, but also other fields in life such as sports, sciences too. Tax money is available and consistent but using tax money for arts or even for sports, sciences might not be the solution. Hopefully, the NEA’s budget will keep...