There have been a raft of news stories lately in Europe and North America about governments cutting funding to arts organizations. The thing that strikes me is how the discussion is framed in the media. This story is typical:
Notice the use of the word 'community'. The media only seem to have three or four notes on their harmonica so they have to shoehorn stories about the arts into one of them. If it is a case of government funding then the story will be the lessening of support for a minority community, much like lessening of support for a visible minority or women. Those kinds of efforts are with the end of assuring some sort of social equality. But what could supporting the arts 'community' possibly be in aid of? Ah, this is the unasked question. The media have found their easily-communicated narrative so end of story. But arts 'workers' (and there is another interesting term, equivalent to, I suppose, sex 'workers') are not an oppressed minority, are they? They are individuals who have chosen a risky profession, economically, for personal reasons, aren't they? The potential rewards are great, are they not? Ah, perhaps that is the issue: the rewards in the non-commercial fields of art are minuscule. As a non-commercial composer you might get the occasional commission from the Canada Council, an orchestra, a festival or a private sponsor, but these, even for a 'successful' composer, will probably not add up to a living wage. Your only hope is a position teaching theory and composition at a university.
How far has classical music fallen from its position at the head of the arts in the 19th century, when it was the embodiment of our deepest nature, the Will of Schopenhauer! Now we are just another socially-disadvantaged community...