Public support for the arts is important because governments should engage in activities that improve the quality of life in their communities, particularly by supporting things that the private market might not otherwise provide. Just as public libraries ensure that all residents have access to books — and that everyone has access to more books than if they had to rely on personal collections — public support for the arts can make sure that all residents have access to arts that enrich their lives. Supporting the arts means placing art in public places, supporting individual artists and arts organizations, holding community arts events, and enhancing arts education. It’s especially important that public support for the arts bring arts and arts education to poor communities and other communities least likely to otherwise have such access.

Ed Lazere is the Policy Director of the D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute.

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