The Playgoer: Quote of the Day

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Monday, April 02, 2007

Quote of the Day

"The arts play an extremely important role in European life. I’m not a statistician, so don’t hold me to exact numbers, but a quick search on the Web brought me this information: In the most recent study on government spending on the arts, Finland, which leads the European countries, spent about $91 per capita. (The data is summarized in a January 2000 research note by the National Endowment for the Arts.) Most European countries trail that figure by a bit, but they’re all in the same ballpark. However, the United States, the world’s greatest economic power (isn’t that what our political leaders keep telling us) spent about $6 per capita on the arts."

-Musician/composer Michael Gordon on the Times blog, Score (firewalled).

To add to the invidious comparisons, Gordon mentions all the local political officials he notices at his concerts in European cities, and notes, "I’ve never seen a senator, congressman or president at a concert of experimental music in New York. Now that we’re into the political season, might one ask our leading candidates what their arts policy is?"

Just imagine, that being asked in a Presidential Debate in this country. Of course it won't, because the answer of both parties would be that the arts are great...and should be left to the private sector.

Isn't it interesting that not even our Mayor Bloomberg--celebrated as a patron of the arts and generous with his cash--is rarely sighted at performances as far as I know. Once he gets the tax write-off, why bother...

We can blame Bloomberg, we can blame Bush, but as Gordon even more sadly puts it, though, "in the United States this isn’t a Democratic issue or a Republican issue. It’s a non-issue."

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