There are many who wonder weather our current funding and support systems for the arts are equitable, or even aligned with what we would decide together we want in the world. Like all complex systems, the ecology of individual, government, business, and related contributions to artistic endeavor evolved in fits and pockets over hundreds of years. The system doesn’t have a central nervous system or an oversight authority, so you wouldn’t expect it to show coordination at a system scale. But still, it’s worth wondering what you might see if we wiped the slate and designed a funding/support ecology from scratch.
When we stopped believing that, firstly, audiences were a homogenous group who could only be engaged by marketing (rather than programming), and secondly, that audiences and artists are different, we started to realise that, actually, artists and audiences are equal parts of the equation.
…the majority of arts funding supports large organizations with budgets greater than $5 million. Such organizations, which comprise less than 2 percent of the universe of arts and cultural nonprofits, receive more than half of the sector’s total revenue. These institutions focus primarily on Western European art forms, and their programs serve audiences that are pre-dominantly white and upper income.