Posts Tagged ‘money’

Photo CC by Jesus Solana, on Flickr

Why exactly do rich people give money to the arts? If you think about it, the two are strange bedfellows: wealth usually begets conservatism while the arts tilt overwhelmingly liberal. Granted, there are certainly rich liberals, but I think there’s more to it than that—after all, some of the biggest arts donors in the USA are also some of the biggest backers of the Tea Party, and red states are significantly more philanthropic than blue ones. Why would conservatives give money to liberal causes like art?

You could simply say that rich conservatives support art because some of them enjoy art. Or, that since the rich have the most money, donors will by definition come from that group. But that’s an incomplete answer, and it doesn’t match what we see in philanthropy statistics. Among high net worth donors, the arts is the #3 most widespread category in terms of charitable giving, just after education and basic needs—but ahead of health and religion. For non-wealthy donors, religion is the #1 most common recipient and art doesn’t make it into the rankings. (more…)

Photo CC by woland ritz on Flickr

I’ve been thoroughly enjoying Hans Abbing’s Why Are Artists Poor?, which formed an important source in my last two articles. Abbing is an economist and a visual artist, and he tackles the broad question of artist poverty from the perspective of both disciplines, trying to filter out the biases and myths that color traditional interpretations.

As a part of his discussion, Abbing brings up the question of what constitutes a professional artist. According to economists, professionals are people who earn some non-negligible portion of their living via their professional activities. This definition works for a lot of the activities humans do, but it’s problematic in the arts. (more…)