Table of Contents


Supporting Art & Culture
by Alfred de Grazia


Through Which Coproductive Groups and Structures
Do (and Should) creators Work ?

Are you aware of how sensitive and lonely many creative producers are ? (302) Are you aware of how ignorant many of them are of the welter of social relationships in which they move through life ? (303) And of how their self-discipline must be intense; even when they appear wild, for they must, like the toreador, face "the moment of truth" ? (304) Still, if the question is asked : "Through what groups does the creative person work ?" must not be answer be: "Very much the same as for all other people in society" ? (305) To encompass fully the "welter of social relationships," is the following list of organizational type adequate ? (306) Should there not be included one's own "self-help" life ? (307) Should any other groups be added ? (308) Although the list appears formidable, could you not, in a few moments, imagine any creative adult you know having related to them all at some time ? (309)


1. Families (household and extended)

2. Communes

3. Friendship circles

4. Neighborhood groups (informal, geographic, functional, formal)

5. Markets (centers, exchanges, remote network communicating types)

6. Political associations, clubs, parties

7. Banking and financial corporations

8. Commercial corporations for promotion and advertising

9. Industrial, transportation, and communication corporations

10. Small business (proprietorship, partnerships)

11. Unions, guilds, and labor councils

12. Industrial, trade, and commercial associations

13. Scientific and professional associations

14. Cooperatives of consumers and purchasers

15. Producer cooperatives

16. Mutual associations for insurance and finance


18. Elementary schools

19. High schools

20. Special schools

21. Advanced schools (colleges, etc.)

22. Research centers

23. Associations for health and welfare

24. Hospitals and clinics

25. Philanthropic foundations

26. Cultural and environmental "assets-maintenance and exhibition" foundations and groups

27. performing arts groups

28. Churches and church associations

29. Local governments and agencies

30. State governments and agencies

31. National governments and agencies

32. Intergovernmental agencies

33. International, transnational, and multinational associations

34. Foreign governments, associations, and counterparts of many other forms on this list.

(See also Category XXXVIII in the Appendix.)

Are we right when we list governments among the groups ? (310) What is the peculiar nature of government: its broad scope; (311) its power to coerce ? (312)

Are not all of the means by which government policy is achieved, ( whether in defense, agriculture, or culture ) as listed below, also possessed to some degree by some or most of the groups above ? (313) And are the means of getting people to act a certain way also combined in many different ways ? (314)

A. Economizing

1. Possessing, maintaining, managing material assets ( as with museums and parks ) (315)

2. Buying ( as of art treasures, construction materials ) (316)

3. Subsidizing, granting, and free welfare ( as with the Comprehensive Employment & Training Act aid to unemployed artists, grants by the National Endowment for the Arts to symphony orchestras, and block grants to state councils ) (317)

4. Contracting ( as with universities to do research on cultural projects (318)

5. Direct production of goods and services ( as in the obtaining, preparation, and exposition on tour of the artifacts of King Tutankhamen by the National Endowment for the Humanities ) (319)

6. Lending ( as in the multiform governmental support of lending libraries ) (320)

7. Paying ( as in the internal personnel administration of cultural agencies as well as in the extensive external operations involving cash-payouts ) (321)

8. Selling ( as of printed art materials ) (322)

9. Borrowing ( as with use of facilities for conferences and exhibitions ) (323)

B. Informing

1. Informing, education ( as in annual reporting or in publishing books ) (324)

2. Study, research, planning, prototype development ( as in budgeting or program evaluation ) (325)

3. Inspection and investigation (as in determining compliance in a set of cases ) (326)

4. Holding conferences, consulting, negotiating ( as in calling together a counseling group or arranging interagency collaboration ) (327)

C. Directing

1. Promulgating rules ( as in setting the conditions for qualifying for aid ) (328)

2. Giving orders to individuals, companies, groups ( as in terminating a grant or executing the conditions of an agreement ) (329)

3. Hearing, trying, suctioning ( as in reviewing a rejection, with drawing a source of aid, or dismissal ) (330)

4. Coercing, guarding, compelling, restraining ( as in maintaining internal and external security of premises ) (331)

5. Licensing, patenting, copyrighting ( as with radio station and the Federal Communication commission, and legislative protection of playwrights ) (332)

6. Human organization and management ( as in administering an agency according to the legislated powers granted or working along the lines of a chain of command ) (333)

7. Taxing ( as in differential treatment of tax-exempt corporations and discriminating among types of groups according to their tax status ) (334)

Considering only the Federal government agencies, do those engaged in culture support then employ every means of implementation ? (335) Are any left out ? (336) Considering the other forms of organization, would only sheer physical coercion and taxing (pro forma) disappear from their means of carrying out their policies ? (337) Are rules of ethical conduct, when adopted and enforced, close to "coercing, guiding, restraining" ? (338) Is the musicians' fund that "taxed" highly paid performers ( and record companies ) for the benefit of underemployed musicians a case of private "taxing" in support of culture, with strikes and other pressures substituted for direct physical coercion ? (339)

When a direct or indirect grant or subsidy or valuable privilege, or help of any kind, is granted to the cultural activity of any individual, group, or institution, does it necessarily follow that "strings must be attached " ? (340) If not, then is it accurate and correct to say that "strings" or controls of any kind are not to be regarded as a quid pro quo or a "market transaction" but simply as ways of getting certain activities going in a manner that is deemed good and proper ? (341) To make the point clear, can it be said that the government never "buys or sells" in the ordinary sense ? (342) If the government gives money to a symphony orchestra, ought it to place "public representatives" on the board of directors of the orchestra association, or do nothing but give it money for what it is and many become ? (343) On the other hand, may not the government determine that "public representatives" shall sit on the board, even if the government does not give the orchestra money ? (344)

In what ways do each of the listed types of organizations above affect cultural creation; the production and dissemination of culture; the effects that cultural creation has upon the people ? (345)

Can the creative pursuits flourish without one or more or all of these types of institutions ? (346) If so, which are dispensable ? (347)

Are any of these types of institution adequately performing their potential culture-support role ? (348) Which ? (349) Why ? (350)

Should the prize system (awards-competitions) be heavily developed and devolved for administration and judgment to the farthest social group reaches of the country and abroad, including all jurisdictions and all other forms of social organization, regardless of whether it is asserted that cultural functions are primary or non-existent in the organization ? (351)

Considering the leadership of all institutions and of the country as 2% of the whole ((not considering very small groups) who have 90% of the decision-making power, what proportion of the leadership is involved voluntarily (free and consciously) in cultural activity inside and outside their organizations? (352) What figure, for the country as a whole, does this produce, for the number of leaders who have an active dimension? (353)

Consider the non-proportional creators and cultural involved people who are in these organizations; what are their proportion and total number? (354)

Does the regular leadership of the groups call upon these people to add to the cultural (internal or external) impact and image of the group ? (355)

Does the country have an "Underground Culture System" whereby most creators communicate through informal networks, quite apart from the formal ones, that include mainly friends and "visiting firemen" ? (356) (Note analogy : an immense proportion of social welfare in America goes on "Underground" and grows or declines without being reflected in the statistics of welfare.)

If so, does the Underground lose vitality by being divorced from formal power and facilities ? (357) Do the formal institutions lose power, authority, functions, and morale by being cut off from the Underground ? (358)

Is there a strong tendency impelling government agencies to tout the principle of "free competition" and "the devil take the hindmost" for small and new creative activity, but protecting and bailing out monopolies and oligopolies in the production and dissemination of culture ? (359)

Consider any single commercial corporation or "non-cultural" tax exempt body with which you are familiar (avoid choosing a group whose main goal is cultural); taking up the check list of the cultural fields from the Appendix, what fields are affected by the total activity of the group, in what way ? (360) Is there any self-awareness in the group about its cultural dimensions ? (361)

What could this latter group do without reducing (and perhaps even increasing) its primary objectives, and with a "positive cost / benefit balance," to advance culture ? (362)

How many culture-support and culture-relevant programs and activities are discoverable in the Federal government alone: 17; 48; 200; 270; 490 ? (363) How are they rationalized, coordinated, and evaluated ? (364)

If it is generally true that government agency budgets are funded ordinarily as they were funded the previous year plus or minus the average change in the total agencies' budget, does this also apply to philanthropic and government support of cultural fields ? (365) That is, does whoever has support get more or less the same proportion of the total support each year ? (366)

If so, then what are the sources of major change in cultural activities in America ? (367) Within this establishment or outside of it ? (368) How ? (369)

What may have been the ten major changes in American culture scene of the past fifty years ? (370) Was the government an active agent in any of them ? (371)

Why should the central support agencies for culture be located in Washington, D.C., as opposed to, say, St. Louis, which is close to the center of population ? (372)

Are the sources of establishment support of culture (excluding the government 's) consciously or unconsciously prejudiced with regard to certain cultural groups, certain religious or ethnic groups, certain fields of culture, certain schools of art literature, certain writers and artists ? (373)

Why should the government's culture support go to nonprofit groups and not to commercial companies ? (374) Isn't the Constitution of the United States a supporter of commercial enterprise in numerous regards ? (375) Does it mention nonprofit enterprise ? (376) What accounts for the growth of nonprofit corporations and their privileged position with regard to taxation and government aid ? (377)

Can independent commercial companies be entrusted with cultural support operations under government contracts ? (378) What is the difference between contracting out a harbor facility, the construction of a hospital, a television channel (actually all channels are in a sense "contracted out"), a delivery of 1000 "murals of acceptable quality," a low-cost small dance troupe on small-town and neighborhood tour, and a publishing program of new poetry produced and authored in twelve regions of the country ? (379)

Can every form of culture support be provided the country through commercial contract without the use of the educational or nonprofit organization system ? (380)

Would commercial groups, in response to a Federal invitation to bid, be able to assemble, collect, and exhibit local art, antiques, and culture of an acceptably high quality in every congressional district of the country ? (381)

Is it worthwhile, as part of national culture-support policy, to recognize the contributions made by thousands of small private shops, selling all types of merchandise around the country, in the quality of their assemblages, shop windows, and other free public services, granted the profit motive ? (382) That is, why should an "Oscar" not be awarded annually to the best antique shop in Seattle ? (383)

Can a voluntary group in the field of criminal corrections be regarded as a cultural group insofar as it affords to its members and clientele activities of education, sociability, and skills in coping with difficult problems ? (384) Even if not so, does not such a group often have pure cultural projects underway, such as prison current-affairs, study groups, plastic arts among inmates, inmate hospital reading programs, etc. ? (385) Should culture-support policy ignore such myriad efforts or, while acknowledging them, not support them ? (386) Could all the foregoing be said of all the businesses in country, so that the government supports gas station environmental aesthetics for example, and poetry clubs in General Motors assembly plants ? (387)

Can there be such a concept as "the ideal structure" of decision in a nongovernmental culture-producing and culture-supporting organization of moderate or larger personnel-clientele-budget size ? (388) What structural principles would apply ? (389)

Is it better to close down a cultural institution that is not achieving its goals (say, a museum ) than, by permitting the illusion that it is performing satisfactorily, to block thought and action with respect to alternatives ? (390)

Are public monies generally going into the centralizing and growth of culture warehouses on the presumption that they are public exhibits ? (391) How can "collections" prove that they are live "dynamuseums" apart from how many clicks are registered at the turnstiles and postcards sold at the entrance ? (392)

Should public assistance ever be channeled to the manages of "stars" ? (393) On what grounds ? (394) With what controls ? (395)

Would a panel of widely read and highly educated persons, presenting titles of 100 written works of the past decade that they believe to be the best, come up with a list of works published mostly by the five largest commercial publishers, the next 50 commercial presses, the university presses, or small publishers ? (396)

Does the answer to this question indicate the direction that culture support in publishing may take ? (397)

If the large publishers and the mass media together determine what is "famous," and "fame" is different from "recognition," then should not culture support be withheld from them (as, for example, in reducing postal deficits) ? (398)

Compared with the present content of radio and television broadcasts and its effects, would the content and effects of a government censored, government-owned, government-programmed, and bipartisan politically dominated radio and television be worse ? (399) If worse, would it be worse culturally or politically and / or as entertainment ? (400)

Should congress employ its authority over the air waves to abolish network television in favor of locally produced television with special public commissions delegated by the Federal Communications Commission to license on an individual basis certain programs for nationwide screening ? (401)

Why is television culture so generally condemned by comparison with opera, classical music, poetry, and theater ? (402) Would not opera, theater, classical music, and poetry become exhausted and reduced to inferior content and productions if they were carried on the air all day and night ? (403) Would this question be well answered by taking the time to conjure up a full day's typical "ideal" programming and to compare it with a typical Sunday of TV? (404)

If the top 1,000,000 educational, scientific, intellectual artistic, business, political, and professional church leaders of America were given representative samples of nonprofit, publicly supported TV and commercial TV for last year, and asked to vote for one or the other programming as deserving support, would the vote against commercial TV be more likely 1 to 1, 2 to 1, 10 to 1, 100 to 1,1000 to 1 ? (405) With your estimate in mind, would you reject this vote as meaningless or irrelevant ? (406) Would you employ all means to give equal resources to the noncommercial system ? (407) Would you abolish the commercial system as hopeless ? (408) Or what ? (409)

Do many volunteer groups, hospitals, churches, lodges, schools, unions and associations wish to do film, video, pictorial, or literary documentaries of their life and work, and would they be activated if a foundation-supported person were assigned to them to direct the project ? (410) Are there many such potential initiatives and cultural opportunities in the independent ( voluntary ) sector of society ? (411)

What if all culture-support funds were distributed on per capita enrollment formula amongst all existing schools and colleges, with the federal participation limited to distributing funds without supervision ? (412) What merits and drawbacks would the system have ? (413) How would the country's educators react to it, and how would artists, writers, and the non-school cultural world react ? (414)

Will not bureaucratic costs be held down if the "scarce goods" of culture support were distributed by a lottery of vouchers or chits among the population ? (415) By offering everyone a choice of several existing cultural programs to engage in and give support to those who wish to enter them ? (416) By political patronage, that is, by supplying all elective officials with a couple of cultural scholarships to dispense ? (417)

One can expect that present and future cultural funding will be carefully inspected in law and practice to assure that it does not contribute to the establishment of religion; should it be equally well guarded against contribution to the establishment of "the communist or Marxist party line," "the puritanical mind," or, for that matter, what H. L. Mencken once called the "booboisie" ? (418)

"Protective personnel" protect "persons and property"; incidentally, they protect "culture (unless in rare cases they burn books and "clean up" plays); would special or general programs to raise their culture-support consciousness be of any significance in conserving culture ? (419)

Inasmuch as enrollments are declining, costs are high, and general ineffectiveness pervades many parts of the educational establishment, might it be advisable to avoid placing a national culture-support policy in its hands ? (420) Or should the new support be used to recoup and revive the system ? (421) Or should a new set of independent "Federal Regional Centers for Culture" be imposed upon some two dozen in-place educational infrastructures, and, by contracting, supply some help without control to the educational level of the two-tier set-up ? (422) Could not the same principle be used for independent local and neighborhood culture centers, implanted upon, separate from, yet contributing to the survival of valuable infrastructure, maintenance, and communication facilities ? (423)

Is a neighborhood, a "Little Bohemia," a local cafe society, an artists' colony, a commune, or a cultural ghetto-partly composed of many aspiring and functioning creative types-a better place for a writer and artist to live than a university or college setting ? can formal institutions ever provide the volatile, uncontrolled, antiauthoritarian, and rule-free environment that human creativity seems to require ? (424)

Can truly rich and diversified cultural centers for all ages located in communities and neighborhoods help reduce culture activity that incurs heavy (if indirect) social expense ? (425)

Would such centers, by providing an alternative to staying home and watching television, encourage a shorter work-week with two shifts per week and hence help with the problem of unemployment of youth, women, and blacks ? (426)

Should block-grants to governmental units for culture support be abolished on grounds that they are an extravagant form of aid with political expedience as their main justification ? (427)

Granted that the Federal government has an auxiliary but secondary role respecting elementary and secondary education, is it entitled to play that role more heavily on the side of carrying out national policies respecting culture ? (428)

If such is acceptable, and the Federal government as whole is persuaded that cultural education is not proceeding in a satisfactory manner and that better formulas for supporting culture are available for use, may the Federal government employ them ?


What would you consider to be "better formulas" among the following ? (430)

a. Block-grants to states ( under a general formula, usually per capita ) ? (431)

b. Block-grants to municipalities and counties under a per capita formula ? (432)

c. Block-grants to independent, functional (not geographic) culture authorities under a rating of functional priorities for support ? (433)

d. Establishment of a national network of culture centers, highly decentralized, by equal-population regions, under the oversight of a separate and distinct national culture-support agency ? (434)

e. Cooperation of Federal government with educational institutions, in which the Federal government would employ already semi-developed and specialized institutions as "chosen instruments" for implementing the different directives of a general culture support formula ? (435)

f. Direct and exclusive national direction and administration of the total culture-support program ? (436)

g. Other..................................................... ? (437)

h. Yet another................................................ ? (438)

What art and culture function can conceivably be performed by a state government that cannot be performed directly by the local government or by the local government receiving support from the national government ? (439) What function can be (or should be) guaranteed by the state government that would justify its use as a costly and inconvenient intermediary between the Federal and local government ? (440)

What effects would result if the largest part of the funds available for art and culture were distributed as simple treasure checks "for unrestricted spending on art and cultured given over to all individual persons whose names happened to occur in a national lottery (say 200,000 checks of $4,000 each) ? (441)

Is it possible to distinguish between :

a. Administrative costs and creative substantive costs ? (442)

b. Expediters (co-producers) and creators of culture ? (443)

If a single agency is charged with the culture-support policy of the nation, should it oversee governmental culture as well as external culture (governmental agencies accounting for nearly half the GNP) ? (444)

If the Department of Defense is the largest spender and employer in the country, should its vast education and ramified publishing and production programs be subjected to external cultural scrutiny ? (445)

If manufacturing industry is being held increasingly responsible and legally accountable for pollution and safety problems, should not the advertising, television, and movie industry be held accountable for a multi billion dollars' loss of literacy and cost of increase of violence ? (446) If it should be, what conceivable means could be employed to achieve accountability in these regards ? (447)

Should the government remove itself from all direct or indirect support of the market price in art work and culture where the price of the artifacts goes beyond "parity" ? (448) Is it better for the government to spend its resources on capturing available "treasures" whether in performance, art objects, or any other artifact or to spend them upon developing a creative people, "letting the chips fall where they may" ? (449) Is the lust to possess are and "valuable artifacts" in an age when almost everything can be reproduced (for all practical purposes) a pathological vestige of bygone age ? (450) Should culture-support policy demand that an applicant for support sell all his or her artifacts that can be sold beyond a given price before becoming eligible for financial support ? (451)

With collection valued into the billions of dollars, and negotiable on the market, why should not museums and other owners of valuable artifacts sell them to such groups as union pension funds? (452) With a charge for storing (exhibiting) them? (453) And first option on resale? (454)

Inasmuch as the filthy and decrepit Soho area of Manhattan was re-occupied and reconstructed artistically by unsubsidized, anarchistic, code-breaking, rent-gouged artists and intellectual, should not government policy turn to "unleashing" these human energies everywhere promoting their peculiar life-style and abandoning the pretense of judging their artistic and cultural output by burdensome and patronizing screening? (455)

In what respect might patterns of philanthropic giving be contrary to a national culture-support policy? (456) For instance, the support of the religious giving is strictly forbidden in most respects, yet how many organs sounding in the nation's churches have their financial origins in tax-deductible gifts? (457)

When the state gives up 70% of a dollar, otherwise owed to it, so that a philanthropist can give the rest of the dollar to a group or person of his or her choosing (within broad limits), to whom should the gift be credited, to the people composing the state or to the philanthropist? (458)

If the government concedes the aforesaid dollar to the name of the philanthropists, should it also give over control of its use to him or her? (459) Or should the government require philanthropists to pursue nation culture-support policies? (460)

Do "matching grants" to non-governmental persons and groups simply take more money from the public treasury to help people who already have money (some of it publicity derived by tax deduction, etc.)to do more of what they have been doing all along? (461) Is it in practice true that a rich person's dollar often receives a "tax deductibility" leverage of three dollars, then another four dollars of leverage from a matching grant, and then all the leverage that comes from an organization whose "stock" is held by a family or small monitory of "stockholders"? (462) Does the exempt corporation not respond to the same pyramiding of "leverage" and power that occurs in an ordinary corporation? (463)


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