W.A.R.T.

 

 

 

 

Fred  Good afternoon, Station W.A.R.T., the service station for all the Arts, is pleased to have in our studio today Mr. Peabody Goodfellow, member of the Silicon County Council for the Arts, and President of the “Rep” -- which you all know is our name for the Midstate Repertory Theater. Mr. Goodfellow's tireless efforts on behalf of the arts -- music and dance as well as our beloved theater -- and the graphic and plastic arts as well -- have made his name a household word in the W.A.R.T. listening area.  We're glad to have you here again, Peab.

 

Goodfellow  Glad to be here, Fred.

 

Fred  ...and we'd like to begin by asking you about...

 

Goodfellow  ...our current letter-writing campaign.  Well, Fred, this is a serious time for the arts in America; in fact it is a crisis situation.  The news from Washington is devastating of course:  budget cuts exactly where they hurt the worst, but what do you expect?  What's really disheartening, though, is going on right now at the State Capitol.  Yes, even at the State level, the broad-axe of cost-cutting threatens the grants that have made our Arts Council possible.  And if Arts Council funding is reduced, the continued health and even existence of so many of our community services -- like the Rep and the Philharmonic -- are in danger.   

 

Fred: So you are asking...?

 

Goodfellow  ...Everybody we can, to write to his or her Assemblypersons, urging passage of the Jaspers Amendment.  Remember: The Jaspers Amendment, which is an amendment to the current appropriations bill and would, if passed, reverse the cuts in State funding for the arts.  You see, Fred, we believe that the arts should be given a higher focus in our society. A higher focus. There is a need out there, a need for more art in our parks, more parks in our cities, more cities …, er, more music in our cities, in our homes, where...

 

Fred (softly) Tell us about the children, Peab.

 

Goodfellow  ...where …, Yes!  The children. In our schools!  We must begin with the children, you know, introduce them, teach them, that a work of art is not just a play, or a painting, or a sculpture, or a poem, or a concert, or a, or a what-have-you.  No.  It isn’t that at all.  Far from it.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  It rather represents a contribution, to the happiness of the entire society -- the society you and I (and all of us) live in, here in America, together, today -- which is serious and still a joy, and which they must learn to, that is learn to, to look upon, or listen to, or see, with understanding.  A contribution to the community, you see.  Yes, the children.  We need outreach.  We …

 

Fred  And so you say we need...?

 

Goodfellow  Support.  You know, and I would like the public to understand, that a theater, a dance company, an orchestra, an opera company, a string quartet, an art museum, or even a radio station like yours, cannot sustain itself on ticket sales alone.  This has never been possible.  Art -- true art, I mean -- has always needed patrons.  Patronage.  And in a democratic society like ours, we need democratic patronage.  Support from the community, for the community.. What kind of civilized society can it be that spends more on liquor than on art?  Or cuts back on the education of its children when at the same time nothing is too good for the military?  Destruction!  The opposite and antithesis of art.  Yes, we pay …

 

Fred  And the Jaspers Amendment would...?

 

Goodfellow  Restore the balance.  Provide the patronage, the democratic patronage, that will keep our theaters open, keep our concert halls open, keep …

 

Fred  Because ticket sales alone won't do it?

 

Goodfellow  Exactly.

 

Fred  And public funding will tax everybody, democratically, to help pay for theaters...

 

Goodfellow  ...and orchestras, and dance...

 

Fred  ...that not everybody wants to buy tickets to?

 

Goodfellow  ...What?  'Not everybody'?  Well of course, there isn't anything that everybody...I mean, what do you mean?  We want everybody to have a chance to enjoy the theater, the opera, the dance, public gardens and sculpture:  That's the point!  Without support for the arts... why, art is for people, you know, not just for some aristocracy like hundreds of years ago.  That's why we must be sure there is enough, uh, enough, uh, enough support, to provide it for the people.

 

Fred  Are you saying that everybody wants art, or that they should want it?

 

Goodfellow  Yes, certainly.  Art is for everybody.  That's why...

 

Fred  Everybody wants art; is that it?

 

Goodfellow  Yes, of course.  Art is one of the most fundamen..

 

Fred  Then why won't they buy the tickets, or the sculptures, if they want it so much?

 

Goodfellow  Well, they can't afford it.  Ticket sales would have to, that is, the price of tickets would have to...

 

Fred  So the people who do want art want somebody else to help pay for it; is that what you're saying?

 

Goodfellow  Well, no.  We all pay; don't you see?  We want public support for art, because art is public.  Without public support we are only a materialistic society.  "Man lives not by bread alone," you know.  The spiritual values count for something too, even if we sometimes lose sight of that fact, especially in politics.  Art is …, that is …, if we together, as a nation, as a people, cannot...

 

Fred  But public support means people paying.  If they can't afford to buy tickets, how can you ask them to pay the same total amount in taxes.  Are you sure they want to?

 

Goodfellow  Why sure.  It is exactly for those who can't afford it that we need public support.  The average man couldn't afford to pay the whole price without it.

 

Fred  Is that why you take money from those who can afford it, to help the others?

 

Goodfellow  Exactly.  I mean, I don’t take it, I just …

 

Fred  And they are happy to do this?  To give money to the arts so that poor people can attend concerts and ballet?

 

Goodfellow  Oh, I hope so, I hope so.  Because without public support...

 

Fred  'Public support' means rich people paying taxes?

 

Goodfellow  Well, not only the rich.  After all, we all pay taxes.

 

Fred  Even your average man who couldn't afford concert tickets if he had to pay their full cost?  He pays taxes, too?

 

Goodfellow  Well, he wouldn't be paying that much.  After all, support for the arts is only a small part of our State and National budget.  A tiny part.  Compared with what we spend on nuclear weapons and rockets it doesn't amount to much at all.  And when you think of what we get with it!  Why, without...

 

Fred  So the taxpayer pays a trivial tax to save himself an appreciable part of his ticket prices; that sounds like some kind of miracle.  Suppose he goes to 20 concerts and plays a year and saves $5 a ticket because of public support.  He saves $100.  Does he do this and still pay less than $100 in taxes?

 

Goodfellow  Oh yes.  The Council on the Performing Arts has calculated that in 1990 the average citizen of our state paid only 37 cents in the taxes that went to support the arts.

 

Fred  And he got $100 worth of ticket reductions for that?

 

Goodfellow  Well, I'm not so sure about that.  He got something, of course, but the average...

 

Fred  Tell me, Mr. Goodfellow, how much the ticket price at The Rep would have to rise, assuming the audience sizes didn't change, to make up for a cut-off of all State and Federal funds.

 

Goodfellow  A complete cut-off?  Oh, that would be awful! The ticket price at the Rep?  It would have to rise, well, I'd have to think.  I can't exactly...

 

Fred  Come now, is $5 too high?  How about $3?  $2?  Wouldn't it have to rise by at least two dollars per ticket?  Two dollars?

 

Goodfellow  Well, I can't exactly say.  I don't have the...

 

Fred  One dollar?  Surely at least one dollar more would be needed?  Fifty cents?  Gee, if a cut off of State funds made only a quarter's difference in the price, you can hardly say that it makes the difference between whether people with trouble affording the price of tickets would or would not attend, could you?  It must be at least a dollar.

 

Goodfellow  I suppose so...

 

Fred  Now how many plays at the Rep did you see last year?

 

Goodfellow  Four or five; the season...

 

Fred  And Philharmonia concerts?

 

Goodfellow  Ten, maybe.  Now let me say...

 

Fred  You're a faithful customer.  How about Dance?  Opera?  The Wilson Chamber Series?

 

Goodfellow  Probably another five, six, but...

 

Fred  So you went to about twenty performances of some sort last year, of local art groups that your Arts Council helps finance with government funds?

 

Goodfellow  About that, yes.  Now look, ...

 

Fred  Twenty performances, with State funding saving you a dollar or more per ticket; that makes $20 you saved, probably more.  And you got this for your 37 cents tax bill?

 

Goodfellow  Well, thirty-seven cents is the average; some of us pay higher taxes...

 

Fred  O.K.  I won't ask how rich you are, but suppose you pay ten times the average tax paid by Joe Six-pack.  Ten times, although I doubt it.  Then you paid $3.70 for that $20 Arts Council rebate.  Not bad.  A bargain!  Tell me -- who did you rob for the other sixteen dollars and thirty cents?  Who paid your way to the Philharmonic last year, Mr. Goodfellow?  Who?  Huh?  Who?

 

Goodfellow  Well now really, I don't think I have to put up with...

 

Fred  Of course not, Mr. Goodfellow.  Thank you so much for being with us today. 

 

Fred  Ladies and gentlemen, we have just been interviewing Mr. Peabody Goodfellow, member of the Silicon County Council on the Arts, a State-funded social agency of public service, and President of  the Rep, our esteemed Midstate Repertory Theater.  Next week we will have as our guest another community leader, as part of W.A.R.T.'s continuing coverage of the Crisis in Culture, a weekly series said to be in the public interest.  Your host then will be Ursula Grantsman, who will take my place from now on.  I have found an honest job in the outside world, and so wish to bid you all goodbye.

 

  (community leadership music, up and out)  

 

 

Ralph A. Raimi

(1981; Revised 31 July 1994 and 25 July 2008)