Monday, September 15, 2014

In Nashville, taxpayers pay for ‘art’ few people want to look at

By Chris Butler, Tennessee Watchdog, NASHVILLE — Let’s try making sense of this, shall we? Nashville officials offer subsidized housing to local artists on the pretense it’s the only way to keep artisans in the city. They live in the Ryman Lofts, in one of Nashville’s most expensive areas downtown. These same city officials have given away nearly $1.5 million in taxpayer money so out-of-state artists can create abstract art that only hard-core art connoisseurs may appreciate.

Attention Nashville City Hall: We have local resources for this kind of thing.

And why is it the taxpayers’ job to fund any of this, especially art?

Photo by Chris Butler
Photo by Chris Butler
GHOST BALLET: This structure, in front of Nashville’s LP Field,
 reportedly cost taxpayers $340,600.
Never mind government officials only fund this art because, when regular people have a choice, they would never in their right minds pay to look at such things.

As Tennessee Watchdog reported, Nashville’s Metro Art Commission has forced taxpayers to pay all this money for the following abstract sculptures:
Let’s face it, folks, only a few consider this “art.” While the rest of us go to Titans games, Comic Con and the latest blockbuster movies, these “connoisseurs” hold their noses, sneer at the rest of us and believe it’s their job to force their art down our throats.

They do this because they think they know what’s best for us common folk. And the only way they can make that happen is with taxpayer money.

Let’s address another problem. You’re on vacation in Savannah, Ga., or perhaps New Orleans.
You want to sample the local culture and absorb it before you head home. Obviously, local culture includes art. Wouldn’t you rather take in art that came from a local as opposed to someone on the other end of the continent?

Photo courtesy Nashville Metro Arts Commission
Photo courtesy Nashville Metro Arts Commission
STUCK WITH THE STICKS?: An artists’ rendering of the sticks that will be placed in downtown Nashville, at taxpayer expense, at a cost of $750,000. While it doesn’t address the problem of government paying for art in the first place, here’s a pragmatic approach Nashville officials probably never considered. The only public art Nashville officials pay for would come from the residents of the Ryman Lofts. They only live there as long as they create that art for free.
Granted, from the free market point of view it’s still an undesirable option — Government has no place whatsoever subsidizing art.  Why does the city of Nashville even have a Metro Arts Commission?  But this option would save Nashville taxpayers some money and at least give them, as well as tourists, locally produced art.  We’re taxpayers, and our views merit respect. It’s nothing personal, we just want to save some money.

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