I do understand, with respect, that our Governor is trying to balance the books. I'm sure the waste in spending equals or surpasses what we spend to encourage the arts, and in turn I'm sure the arts council could do a better, more fair, job at spreading the grants. Having said that, I would hope our good government officials would consider the possible words of Winston Churchill, when considering cutting money for the arts in order to fund the war effort:
"Then what are we fighting for?"
Whether Churchill actually said this or not is irrelevant. The point is simple, you can not provide a good place to live when the quality of life is not inspiring. Kentucky will not attract the lucrative "creative class" (I always hated that phrase, anyway*) if the creative atmosphere of Kentucky is desolate. The arts are in fact an investment to attract families, tourism and entrepreneurs to the Commonwealth. It pays for itself many times over.
Re-directing HOW arts money is spent may be a wiser and more lucrative course, instead of cutting it. But that's a whole-nuther issue and nobody has yet asked my opinion :)
I hope everyone reading this would consider becoming a member of the WoodSongs Front Porch Association as we send massive roots music education into classrooms and home school families. Free. We call our members SongFarmers. I think the government and arts council might study what we are doing just to see how much good can be accomplished on so very little. Visit us at WoodSongs.com/WFPA (SongFarmers.org is being rebuilt so it may not be ready when you read this)
READ THE NEWS STORY: http://www.kentucky.com/entertainment/ent-columns-blogs/copious-notes/article56182380.html
* Why I hate the term "creative class."
Simple, artists should never be separated from the spirit of their audience. Being an artist, making a living as one, comes from the grace and good heart of the audience. "Creative Class" somehow implies the artist is special, more blessed, more important than the audience that provides for them. Bull-dinkies, I say. An artist is best positioned as a servant, a laborer of heart and spirit underwritten by the audience that accepts their work. I'll give you an example of why this class structure doesn't work: Michael Jackson, arguably an impressive talent, jumped the shark when he floated a statue of himself down the Themes River. Michael Jackson wasn't god-like because he was famous, rich or had a massive audience. He was a fragile, flawed, mortal person EXACTLY like his audience. He would have been less lonely and a lot more stable if he viewed his position in a humble manner.
To quote Pete Seeger: "It is better to have friends than fans."