In the midst of his post, as almost a throwaway, he writes, "The reason the arts and humanities are targeted is that for a major portion of the country, we are either a complete blank or the spawn of the upper-class elites." Let's pause there for a second, and examine this before we go blowing a bunch of money on an ad campaign.Because if that is, in fact, the reason arts and humanities are targeted...well, it's hard to argue with it. And maybe we ought to be thinking about that a little bit before buying TV time.
According to a recent NEA study, 88% of the arts organizations in America are located in places with populations of over 50,000 people. Frankly, I think this statistic actually masks a starker picture: the majority of arts organizations are in large metropolitan areas. This is certainly the case when it comes to the non-profit theatre. About two years ago, I did an analysis of TCG-member theatres, and what I found is that
- 58% of TCG-member theatres are in counties with over 500,000 people. To put this into relief, the less than 4% of the counties in the US have populations over 500,000.
- Of the 63 places that have LORT theatres, none have a county population under 50,000.
When I analyzed the NEA grant data for one round of grants in 2006, I found that almost 40% of the money went to New York City, Chicago, and the state of California. They represent less than 17% of the US population. On the other end of the spectrum, 17 entire states didn't see a single dime.
If we want to talk about supply and demand, we need to start there. If there is over-supply, it is highly centralized and and localized. If Landesman wants to make an impact with NEA grants, he needs to spread that money to places that haven't seen it before.