Whatever Happened To Funding The Arts Just Because We Should?

Economic impact studies are becoming the preferred method of convincing the citizenry to support public subsidies for arts and culture. But not everyone is buying the message: “The arts folks are trying to sell their idea… by using the vehicle the public seems eager to buy these days: It will help the economy. The arts’ pitch is smaller but not dissimilar to the pitch made by the biotech people. We can not only cure diseases, we were told, we can cure downturns in the business cycle… When we make these arguments long enough, other economists will come up with research that shows these are not such good investments. This will lead to more resistance to funding projects we probably ought to fund for the civic good.”