Responsibility of government for supporting the arts

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The issue opinion that government has a responsibility to support the arts is an interesting and controversial one. This issue is increasingly important in this age of different attitudes to the governmental support of arts. Many people believe that there is no need in governmental support of arts and non-governmental and private organizations must allocate funds and resources for supporting arts, but these people overlook the fact that it is quite impossible to found art and music schools, galleries, museums without governmental support. Furthermore, many kinds of art would not survive without support of government. In this essay, I will argue that government really has a responsibility to support the arts. I’ll give eloquent examples of such support and its necessity.

Positive examples of the argument

There are many good reasons for people who assert that it is rather harmful for arts to be supported by government. Classical example they can draw is governmental support of arts in the former Soviet Union. Soviet leaders have been carried out their control of arts in the Soviet Union, but they thought that there was necessity to control artists and for many internal ideological reasons. In spite of the control, Soviet government supported the arts through different state organizations and institutions, and many real masterpieces were created by the Soviet people in that period. Government must support arts, but not widely control it. There are some good examples of such supporting.

The Illinois Arts Council (IAC) is a governmental organization the purpose of which is providing grants for different art organizations, institutions and festivals. “These grants generally are for the purpose of increasing their accessibility for people from other parts of the state or for people of lower income, but grants also may support special programs and exhibitions” (1). These programmes must be supported by government, because only state support can provide high level of arts development. Private organizations cannot always appropriate necessary funds for arts development.

There are some more examples from the US history. “Government support was provided to artists during the Great Depression through the Works Project Administration (WPA). The purpose of this government largesse, however, seems to have been motivated primarily by the interest in providing work to the unemployed” (2). The governmental support of the arts also provides help for people who create masterpieces in such trouble time as the Great Depression. Non-state organizations couldn’t support artists in trouble time – only government can provide arts and artists with all means needed.

Eloquent example of the necessity of governmental support of the arts is a copyright system which is established by the government. It allows “creators to retain the financial interests in their intellectual property, so the theory runs, they would be encouraged to create, which would be in the interests of the nation” (2). Government supports authors to gain material stimulus for their work and protects them from illegal use of their creations. Copyright system is widespread in all civilized countries that understand the necessity of the state support of the arts and artists who are always gold fund of any country and nation. Only government is able to support the arts and artists with the copyright system by all means of legislation.


I have argued that government has a responsibility to support the arts, but if that support is going to produce anything of value, government must place no restrictions on the art that is produced. This view will become increasingly dominant in the coming century, because in our time it is especially important to provide high level support of arts. Many of these issues can never be resolved to everybody’s satisfaction, but in the long run, promoting the idea that government is mostly responsible for arts development will lead to the betterment of all involved. Finally, global cooperation and cultural understanding resulting in responsibility growth of government in arts support lead to the positive results of such approach for everybody.

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  1. Owen V. L. Government support of the arts. December 1977/ Illinois Issues/ 23. (
  1. Julie C. Van Camp. Government support for cultural activities. October 16, 1999. (
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