Table of Contents


Supporting Art & Culture
by Alfred de Grazia


What Motives Impel (and Should Impel) Culture Producers ?

What do culture creators receive for their work

In relation to all social groups:

High       MediumLow
a. Respect and prestige ?............(187)
b. Income ?............(188)
c. Influence ?............(189)
d. Varied life experiences ?............(190)
e. Freedom ?............(191)
f. Knowledge ?............(192)
g. Self-gratification ?............(193)

Why do creative people continue their work ? (194)

Why should an ordinary not-so-creative person strongly desire to pursue a cultural activity ? (195)

Does the society "owe" the same opportunity to tone-deaf person to whistle a tune as it does to a gifted young singer to become a Caruso ? (196)

Can a culture support policy get to the roots of mass incentives to art and culture and fertilize them ? (197)

When the ancients built a temple, the whole city became involved; when the medieval townspeople built a cathedral, the same happened; is there any contemporary equivalent activity in which some considerable fraction of a country, state, or city or even a county, town, or neighborhood becomes involved ? (198) Are such projects conceivable and if so, how great would their value be ? (199)

Of those trained in cultural fields, what proportion reduces its creative activity to a minimum or ceases creative activity altogether ? (200)

What is the range of variation among the cultural fields ? (201)

When does the impulse to creative activity begin in the individuals's development and life span ? (202) What spurs on an impulse to become a culture creator or producer ? (203)

Does the development of creativity depend more on the attitude of the American people and leaders and on the morale of the creative producers than on any fixed money-spending policy ? (204)

What income do creators receive, and how much of it comes from their chosen work and how much from related or unrelated other work and sources ? (205) Is "unreported income" unusually common among them ? (206) Is income in kind or commodity income also common ? (207)

The intellectuals and artists of the Eastern European countries are near the top of the countries' pay and status hierarchies; are the results visible in a flowering of culture ? (208)

Do culture producers deserve more subsistence support (whether in fellowships or welfare benefits ) than manual workers or insurance clerks ? (209) Should welfare benefits (subsistence support) be given only to the better laborers or clerks ? (210)

If the welfare system provides for a person's subsistence, why are special living stipends necessary for cultural workers ? (211) Can they not "go on welfare" and stay there ? (212) Should culture producers be treated as an "endangered species" and be allowed to continue on welfare without changing their occupational habitat, whereas all others on welfare should be compelled to take any job that is offered them ? (213) Or should all people on welfare be granted the right to work only at jobs that they understand and / or prefer ? (214)

Should the force of "creative need" be added to widely discussed schemes for minimum income maintenance so that culture creators can, if they wish, sacrifice everything else to their time spent on their chosen work, without fear of severe economic privation or ineligibility for welfare benefits ? (215)

If the right to be supported in one's chosen cultural occupation is guaranteed, no matter how long the lack of economic return, how does one prevent (one should one prevent) a vast influx of newly educated persons into the protected areas ? (216)

Is it better to give everyone in the nation a drawing account to provide for their basic subsistence, including their cultural subsistence, or is it better to : a ) segregate the "best" creative producers: b) set up agencies to interminably choose among people; and c) ward off those citizens who have their own pressing needs and resent cultural priorities ? (217)

If the culture system is viewed, as it is by many, as a welfare system, because of the practically blank pages in the national ledger in which the contributions of creative people should be valued, then should not culture support provide yet another powerful argument for guaranteed basic income for all Americans ? (218) Differently stated, would not 90% of the culture support problem disappear overnight if all the people of creative abilities could carry on their work with a basic drawing account against the social treasury ? (219)

Since only very few authors can support themselves out of royalties from their books and articles, would it be effective to introduce, for their benefit, a reading fee on the borrowing of their works from libraries ? (220) If library budgets, already low, could not support the new costs, could these costs be charged to library users ? (221) Alternatively, could vouchers be issued on a public fund to certain types of readers with reimbursement to the libraries and thence to authors ? (222) Could the same system be handled by libraries with respect to contemporary works of are ? (223) Might the fund be paid for by the publishing industry rather than by the government ? (224)

If artistic and cultural pursuits are rewarding in themselves, should not creative persons be pleased to accept less gain for their work ? (225) And, therefore, should not culture-support policy aim primarily at supplying material help to a large number of " creative people in a small way rather than trying to provide a high income for some ? (226) Furthermore, would their lot then be less envied by the noncreative workers ? (227)

Are all forms of creative work characterized by a highly skewed distribution of income among the people in the field ? (228)

Is there a close relationship in fact between what a creator earns and the proportion of available time he / she spends at preferred tasks ? (229)

How do creators themselves explain why they have continued their activity ? (230)

How do creators themselves judge whether they are being creative and productive ? (231)

What are the most discouraging features and experiences in a creative person's life that affect his / her work ? (232)

Inasmuch as the famed Lombroso a century ago identified genius as a form of madness, a theory which has served respectably since his time, does not the stimulation of genius stimulate an increase in madness ? (233) But, more important, does not the large-scale provision of conditions under which genius is born-perhaps once in a hundred cases-veritably assure a significant increase in mental abnormality in population among whom mental illness is already of near-epidemic proportions ? (234)

Should certain motives be preferred to other ? (235) That is, is it better to play upon or stress material gain, prestige, competitive culture achievement, or self-fulfillment, as incentives for the young to enter upon creative pursuits, or for encouraging the old ? (236)

Is it possible to utilize creators' motives in encouraging their production ? (237)

If so, is it best to play upon their motives directly or indirectly ? (238)

When a form of cultural expression emerges from the grass roots of American society, should it be regarded as an undeniable force that must be supported and should high priority be granted to whatever is required for its elevation and highest form of expression ? (239)

Should means of support be channeled, as far as possible, to the working creator directly and be administered by agencies in whom creator has confidence ? (240)

Is it better to reward the creator or the creator's work ? (241)

Is there a danger of degrading the creator in the process of stimulating the creations themselves ? (242)

Should a public commission be given authority, in line with a form of "public utility" principle, to list and require all works of art defined as "national treasures" to be preserved by the commission and transferred only under clearly prescribed conditions? (243)

Could decentralization of culture-support organization and decision make movement from one area to another difficult for individual culture activists ? (244) Or could the centers compete for them ? (245) or could a policy statement ban any rule or practice impeding movement ? (246)

What can a government do to reduce or counteract the immense effect that extravagant publicity employed in the arts, entertainment, television, publishing, and advertising generally has in elevating a few culture products and a few people while depriving and muffling all other audiences (and markets) for all other artists and culture creators ? (247) Does this deprivation of fame and audience have a large effect on the morale as well as the earnings of creative talents ? (248) Would a heavy progressive penalty on spending for promotion of all types restore a livelihood to many kinds of cultural producers ? (249) Would "hogging the market" thus decrease; and would this bring about a substantial diminution of the financial support that government would otherwise feel obliged to give the smaller artists and culture creators ? (250) Would it be easier to administer such a bitter medicine if the penalty monies went into a fund for the library scheme ? (251)

Will it not cripple the spontaneity-not to mention the very productivity-of art and literature, if culture creators must pursue through life an endless series of applications, official evaluations, competitive races, and deadlines ? (252)

Will not the takeover, partial though it may be, of culture support by official bodies, overwhelm the independent creators of culture and drive them into an impoverished and hostile position "underground" ? (253)

Do unionism and association-ism downgrade the cultural morale and creativity of culture activists ? (254) If not ( or if so ), should culture support be made available to such groups, with the proviso that the promoted activities be separated fiscally and physically from the unionism ? (255) Should such support be given, even though in one way or another it is bound to advance the pressure politics and membership drives of these groups ? (256)

If the advertising industry were to be checked by the expected general decline in, and regulations upon, material consumption, and if an acute need were to arise to shift behavior from the market place that pays the advertising industry, how could the advertising industry redress itself with least harm ? (257) That is, how can the advertising industry be converted into an art and culture industry and thus actually elevate its role and position? (258)

If elements of American culture have for various reasons been down-graded in American history and culture, should culture support be disproportionately accorded to them ? (259) For example :

a. Catholics    as compared with    Protestants
b. Indians          " " "Whites
c. Recent immigrants          " " "older immigrants
d. Blacks          " " "whites
e. Westerners          " " "Easterners
f. Big cities          " " "small towns
g. Jews          " " "gentiles
h. Women          " " "men
i. Young          " " "mature
j. Old          " " "mature
k. Poor          " " "rich
l. Hill folk          " " "bottom-land people
m. Southeast          " " "Northeast
n. Workers          " " "business classes

If so, in what areas would the disproportionate support take place? (260) ( One might use the Appendix for a checklist of fields of culture activity, and the blank spaces below for listing some promising fields for readjusting images and opportunities.)








Also, if so, should disproportionate support be given in the direction of aiding separatist or assimilationist claims for readjustment ? (261)

Would it be better to make such adjustments of historical balance by "deliberate representation " (including possibly quotas) or by an "overall warning and advisory oversight commission" with power to issue orders of individual applicability ? (262)

The case of the image media, plastic arts media, and design media against writing as communication has been triumphantly made, but can you think of anybody who has made a full-dress case for the role of writing in contemporary and future culture, asserting "all other media except writing can be dispensed with and a highly developed civilization can subsist, but take away writing and it will immediately collapse" ? (263)

In a society where there are ethnic groups most anxious to rise in power and status as individuals, and where such groups are characterized by a heavy concentration on and high evaluation of, non written and intellectually undisciplined media of culture, will they not inevitably be held back by a society which in the final analysis is ruled by the written work and intellectual concepts ? (264)

Is it perhaps correct to say that the issue in culture support is not "elitism vs. populism" but rather "the future vs. the past," meaning that many culture activists wish to revere and conserve the past while many culture activists cause, develop, and celebrate change through changing culture messages, forms and techniques ? (265) Is it true that those who do not study history are condemned to repeat it ? (266)

Is it truer to say that those who study history are usually interested in repeating it ? (267) Is the study of history pointless unless a motive or thesis is supplied ? (268) Must not be motive ultimately be political ? (269) If agreed, then how can a government (or any other) culture-support agency purport to assist only unbiased historiography ? (270)

Should there be a general directive to support projects that create a desirable future rather than nostalgic projects that try to restore (not conserve) and recapture the past ? (271)


Table of Contents