Parabasis: The Rug Removed:
In the United States, the NEA has a budget of $139.4 million US dollars, none of which (by law) can go to individual artists. What does this translate to in terms of per capita spending on the arts? We spend $460K per person in the United States on the arts. The Danes spend roughly $12 MILLION per person on the arts. (To make the point even starker, if we were to raise the NEA's budget to keep up with the Danish government's budget it would come out to something around $3.6 billion dollars). This is despite the fact that the US's GDP is $13.22 trillion dollars and Denmark's GDP is $256 billion dollars.
I state all of this as an introduction to the issue that I want to explore which is the imminent demise of the non-profit Off Broadway/Regional theatre paradigm in America. Pretty much every single problem in American theatre that we think of as artistic can be traced back to financial factors, almost (and I only say "almost" to cover my ass, I can't actually think of one right now) every single issue we bloggers have been trying to shed some light on can be traced back to money. Lack of risk-taking amongst artistic directors? Check. New Plays being constantly developed instead of produced? Check. Lack of arts education leading to lack of interested audiences leading to shitty coverage for the art in the Times? Check. Losing an enormous amount of talent to film and TV? Check.
So how does this all connect?