INDIVIDUAL ARTISTS NOT EMPOWERED TO FIND THEIR OWN PATRONS
This situation prevails in Australia today, despite the fact that in the past, as we have noted, private patronage has been the most effective way to get new artwork created. This situation prevails despite the fact that living artists have to compete with the work of dead artists, who were able to get funding for their work through private treaty arrangements.
You might be of the opinion that direct private patronage of individual artists is socially undesirable because it creates inequality in the arts community, but you can only support that proposition if no one else in the arts community currently benefits from this kind of support. That is not the case, and I am not referring to the particular case of painters who sell their work outright.
There has been a long tradition in Australia of providing support to performing artists by means of making donations to tax-deductible organisations which exists to help them. Running competitions has always been a popular way of doing this, since the donors benefit by attending events where the competitors perform. This kind of event combines the excitement of art with the excitement of a gladiatorial contest.
But a more recent form of patronage for individual performers has been established, thanks to the ingenuity of lawyers. Individual instrumentalists in orchestras currently benefit from directed private patronage, by a legal device which we will explore shortly (MEDICI PROGRAM) The kind of support they get to pay their salaries is not available to composers whose music they sometimes play.
So what point am I trying to make here? It is this:- you can't cite inequity as a reason to discourage private patronage for individual creative artists when it is already entrenched in the system and available to other art workers, such as performers. Speaking of inequity, how about this? Although the old-fashioned system of private patronage is now relegated to the past, the works which it helped to create, are still very much alive. What this means is that living artists are constantly in competition with dead artists, whose works were brought into being by forms of support which living artists cannot access . Repeat, cannot.
That is why, at present, arts bureaucrats do not have to worry about rumblings from individual artists. These can be dismissed as the rantings of malcontents, and as long as such rantings and eruptions are only heard intermittently, and only from isolated individuals, no one in the arts bureaucracy is going to feel threatened by ineffective complaints from its clientele. Which brings me to Point 6.