Why not make this a series? One of the major themes of this blog is talking about the relationship between art and markets. All too often, people have a presumption that there is not enough art or that art must be supported by government. The reality is that neither is likely true, at least not right now. I came across another interesting example of charity (read: the free market!) today in the New York Times. Melena Ryzik writes:
These have been good days for art lovers. In Colorado the Aspen Art Museum, home to contemporary art exhibitions, film and video series, has announced that starting on Thursday its admission will be free for the next 10 years, thanks to an undisclosed contribution by John and Amy Phelan. (The admission was previously $5 and under.) The Phelans are members of the museum’s council and part-time residents of Aspen.
We give away over $34 billion in foreign aid by way of charity every year, more than all other countries on earth combined. We have incredible privately-owned museums, such as Crystal Bridges, on the way. Now, due to the beneficence of the Phelans, the barrier to enjoying some “top shelf” art has been lowered so that everyone can enjoy it. This was all accomplished without the coercion of government, by way of income taxes. I am optimistic that the 21st century will be the time when we realize the power of the market to expand tastes and foster tolerance.