To the Editor,
Re: Arts groups need to be self-supporting, Feb. 18.
It’s never a surprise to witness a lack of education in this city’s approach to the arts.
I have studied the performing arts in my university studies, at my own expense, and it seems P.D. Good could benefit from my hard-earned knowledge. And since I’m of the generous sort, I won’t even make them work for it.
Would it surprise Good to learn that performance art, often one of the most expensive and time-consuming of the public arts, originated during a period in Greek history where playwrights, actors, and musicians were all paid by the city of Athens to take part in a yearly Dionysian festival?
That audience members, if they lived outside of the city or could not afford the time off to witness the productions, were reimbursed by the city not only their travel but their missed work as well? Furthermore, that this money was collected primarily in taxes from the rich (taxation based on income, what a novel idea) and that for the rich or privileged to speak ill of the festival or its expenses was a huge social faux pas that would get you shunned socially in the city itself?
Without this funding, great works on which most of modern performance art is based, such as those by Aristophanes and Euripides just to name a few, would never have existed. They’d have all become lawyers and doctors I’m sure, and the money diverted to projects the rich dictated at their leisure.
So, before you consider diverting vital streams of funding away from largely volunteer organizations whose value to society is worth more than simple dollars and cents, you may consider getting an education so that you understand the ramifications of your suggestion.
Also, feel lucky. Were we ancient Greeks, we’d have shunned you already.