Parabasis: Dana Gioia Earns His Salary:
The reason why we have a system of public and private sponsorship of the arts is that public sponsorship of the arts is woefully insufficient. That's it. It's not a virtuous choice we made on philosophical grounds, it's the reality that exists now because the Government never fulfilled its promise of properly funding the arts.
The result? Very few artists make a living wage from their art, while arts administrators--specifically those in development who spend all year contacting those corporations to get the money the government isn't handing out-- get paid. I should note here that I don't have an axe to grind against arts administrators. I think they're necessary and good people, and many of my friends are in their positions. But the reality remains that the current funding model has lead to an entire class of paid professionals whose job it is to work around the clock to raise that private money.