I actually read that riveting question in the marginal notes of a proposal for funding an orchestra. The notes were penned by a trustee of a grant-making foundation during a meeting to review the proposal. Another trustee of the foundation, the one who presented the proposal on behalf of the orchestra, later showed them to me and asked what I could do help counter his colleague’s questioning remark.
Arts and cultural institutions are often forced into such defensive postures. They’re accused of only benefiting the elite. The needs of the hungry, the homeless, the physically, mentally and emotionally challenged are cited as so great that something as frivolous as the arts should not be drawing from the pool of available support for non-profit organizations. Those of us who work with and passionately support the arts are asked how we can justify "diverting" funds to the arts when such need exists.
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