Arts and Public Support

Advocates of public support of the arts claim that the arts improve the overall quality of human life, stimulate economic growth, and confer on individuals and communities a host of other benefits and are, therefore, worthy of underwriting by government. Libertarians, in contrast, tend to oppose such support on the principle that the arts, like religion, are too much entwined with our deepest personal values. For most people, the subject is of little pressing concern. When contemporary work perceived as blasphemous, obscene, or otherwise politically charged is supported by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), however, public outcry inevitably ensues. Often the question is also raised as to whether the work exhibited is, in fact, art. Most arts professionals today subscribe to the notion ...

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