Original Article Here.
It Costs Taxpayers a Bundle, but Is It Art?
A $10,000 grant for theater ‘celebrating the saguaro cactus’? The National Endowment said yes.
By ROGER KIMBALL
July 10, 2017 6:46 p.m. ET
A new report
from the Illinois-based initiative Open the Books provides an eye-opening look into the size of that tab. The study includes virtually every grant the NEA and NEH have made since 2016, and additional details about the endowments’ activities as far back as 2009. This includes grants to 71 entities with assets over $1 billion, and one grant to a California enterprise that celebrates the work of a Japanese-American artist best known for declaring: "I consider Osama bin Laden as one of the people that I admire."
The latest Open the Books report reveals that in 2016 federal arts agencies dispensed more than $440 million into the collective maw of their clients. Nearly half, $210 million, went to recipients in only 10 states—a predictable lineup of progressive coastal outfits, mostly clustered in California and New York.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art is a public charity commanding assets worth nearly $4 billion. The museum’s annual gala is a star-studded event, what one publicist called an "ATM for the Met." The Met raised some $300 million last year, yet it has received more than $1 million from the NEH since 2009. Why?