In an informal survey, the Monitor asked readers about issues related to the National Endowment for the Arts. Ten questions were posed, eight with agree/disagree answers and two calling for more thoughtful responses. The majority of readers (3 to 1) argued in favor of the NEA and the arts. Here are the results.
1. The arts play an important economic, spiritual, and social role in my community.
Agree: 114 Disagree: 13
2. The federal government should help subsidize arts with NEA grants.
Agree: 96 Disagree: 31
3. Arts funding should come from private and corporate donations and ticket sales.
Agree: 106 Disagree: 18
4. Most NEA grants support worthwhile projects.
Agree: 95 Disagree: 20
5. Most NEA grants support avant-garde and cutting-edge art.
Agree: 39 Disagree: 79
6. Federal funds should support only art most Americans would like.
Agree: 27 Disagree: 87
7. Public funding of the arts should be granted only on artistic merit.
Agree: 76 Disagree: 30
8. The NEA should define a standard of decency.
Agree: 53 Disagree: 58
9. What effect would the abolishment of the NEA have on the arts and on society?
* Dampening, destructive, divisive, devastating.
* Culture would reflect only commercial interests.
* Only wealthy communities could afford to subsidize art.
* Would keep the poorest children from much of art training or enjoyment.
* Loss of opportunity to experience the arts in rural areas.
* Society would suffer, because the public would get much less exposure to the arts.
* Thousands of small arts organizations would go under.
* Little. Some of the leeches would have to work.
* Taxes would decrease.
* Precious little on arts demonstrating technical skill and artistic discipline.
* It's not a government role. Separate art and state.
10. What role does art play in our society?
* Our culture needs more support for and emphasis on all forms of art and in the education of our kids.
* Polls over the years have indicated that an arts and cultural community is very important to businesses and citizens looking for a community to relocate to.
* Everything creative is civilization. Look at what past civilizations have left us: their art, dance, plays, ceramics, architecture, music, literature. Certainly not their money ....
* None - or minimal.
* While it would be pleasant to think that the arts play an important role in our community, that is really not the case. Sports events draw much larger crowds.