Robert Gibson, November 2014

I get that the arts are important in defining, reflecting and possibly challenging national identity (October, ‘State of the Arts’). But why should government be in the business of doling out money to individuals who, for whatever reason, wish to follow their artistic inclinations and/or ambitions? Tennessee Williams, Jack Kerouac and James Baldwin helped define the American experience during their particular moment in history without recourse to government largesse. Benjamin Britten, Pablo Picasso and Dylan Thomas likewise enriched their respective national cultures (and world culture) without having the arrogance to expect, or demand, state funds. Are Australian artists somehow exceptional, or are they simply not in this league?

Robert Gibson
Mount Stuart, TAS

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