Monday, November 9, 2009

A posting yesterday on the Clyde Fitch Report Blog titled Who is David McIntosh and Why is He Charging $267.67 a Ticket? made me sit up straight and take notice. Starting with a discussion of recent National Arts Endowment budget increase in the US (from $155 M to $167.5 M) in relation to the rest of the world and how they support the arts and why. Brian McIntosh of battery opera in Vancouver recently figured out what it would cost per ticket to produce his current show: $267.67. This is why:

Yet you’re still charging this enormous sum for each ticket, which makes it clear how much you’ve needed your state subsidy in order to make your work.
I’m trying to provoke a re framing of the discussion, not to ask for pity for not funding a show, as I’ll figure out how to make art, regardless of whether I’m funded or not — that’s my reality. Yes, there’s a tendency with the threat of less funding to try to get sympathy from audience, to get them to say, “Gee, this is terrible.” But I am more curious about re framing the discussion to ask: What does this funding do? I can say it helps me make my work, but I could re frame it and say that what funding does it help the public gain access to my work by making it safe for them or easy to find me
and easy to partake in for quite a reasonable price. In other words, I think subsidies are subsidizing audience access to art and artists. It’s about society. It’s not about me.

Read the whole interview here. You can also check out David's blog for more thought provoking ideas about state-funded arts.

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