Anyone who read last Friday’s blog knows that I love Western art. Mountains, mesas, cowboys on horses, cattle drives, rugged canyons with lakes or rivers in them. I love all of that. I’m not so big on fuzzy pictures that make you think you’re seeing double or modern art that doesn’t depict anything recognizable to me, but I realize that such things are matters of taste. There’s not necessarily any right or wrong involved. Enjoy the art that appeals to you.
Where I draw the line is with the idea that government (read taxpayers) needs to support the artists who draw, paint or sculpt pieces that don’t sell well enough to buy the artist’s groceries and pay the rent. It has become common practice for the federal government, through the National Endowment for the Arts, to underwrite all sorts of art and artists.
My own city does the same thing. Every time we pass a bond issue, some portion of the proceeds will be earmarked to “support the arts.” Why is this? Why should taxpayers subsidize artists whose art—or promotional abilities—leave them without enough income to get along on?
As I say this, I realize that I’m an artist also. I don’t paint pictures or sculpt statues in my art. I use words to create those pictures in the stories I write. Unfortunately, I’m not a good enough promoter to bring flocks of readers to buy my books, but is that the fault of taxpayers? Should they be penalized for my lagging book sales?
The very thought of that is ludicrous. I’m in daily contact with dozens of writers through social media, and very few of them sell enough books to make a living, but that’s okay. We work day jobs or live on retirement resources or whatever we need to do while we ply our art. What justification could there possibly be for saddling taxpayers with the burden of supporting us?
Yet we think nothing of spending tax money to support people who can’t sell enough paintings or statuary to support themselves. We spend tax money to support local symphony orchestras which can’t raise enough revenue from ticket sales to allow their members to make a living. Why do these people have license to reach into your pocket for the money they can’t make with their art?
If you sell enough books to make a living, more power to you. But if you don’t, should big brother come along with money taken from taxpayers’ pockets and use it to support your writing? Why shouldn’t our writing—and painting and music—be supported by the people who enjoy reading or viewing or hearing it?
For more information about David N. Walker, click the “About” tab above.
For more information about his books, click on “Books” above.
Contact him at dnwalkertx (at) gmail (dot) com or tweet him at @davidnwalkertx.