|摘要: ||藝術需要政府補助嗎？筆者不是全然的同意政府需要補助藝術，但筆者絕對認同「國家藝術與人文基金會法案」(National Foundation on the Arts and Humanities Act of 1965) 的宗旨，偉大的藝術家或是學者不可能被創造出來，但政府絕對有責任培養及開創一個能讓藝術家自由自在思考、無拘無束想像的環境。|
美國藝術資金補助的制度非常複雜，唯美國政府直到二十世紀之前，並沒有通過任何正式的國家藝術政策。一方面承襲於歐洲的社會與宗教傳統歷史，早期的新英格蘭移民者認為藝術會讓那些殖民地的開拓者沉迷於其中，進而使他們無所事事，喪失了原本勤勉的精神；另一方面，美國缺乏了一個強而有力且願意為藝術付出，成立國家藝術機構的領導者。也因此美國的國家藝術補助或是政策比起歐洲其它國家可以說起步相當的晚。雖然在美國國家藝術基金會(National Endowment for the Arts, NEA)成立前，美國已經有一些國家藝術機構的出現，但大多數都因為不完整的政策或像上述原因一樣，缺乏強而有力的領導而失敗。若以歐陸的標準來看，美國聯邦政府的補助是非常少的，但有趣的是美國的藝術環境卻又得以發展，仔細想想其實是非常有趣且值得探討、省思的。
Although this research is not completely in favor of government funding on the arts, it absolutely agrees with one of the main purposes of the National Foundation on the Arts and Humanities Act of 1965, which is “no government can call a great artist or scholar into existence, it is necessary and appropriate for the Federal Government to help and create and sustain not only a climate encouraging freedom of thought, imagination, and inquiry, but also the material conditions facilitating the release of this creative talent.”
Not until the twentieth century did the American Government pass any arts policy. On the one hand, it was because of its European origins. Early immigrants believed that arts would make those pioneers in the colony indulge in it and force them to lose their virtues of industry. On the other hand, it was a lack of a strong leader who would be willing to die for arts postponed the timetable for a national arts institute. Although there were a few arts institutes established under government sponsorship, most of them failed due to incomplete policy or the reason mentioned above, lack of a strong leader. The American Federal Funding on the arts had been so rare to compare with European standard, yet the art world in the United States grew without limits.
This research focuses on a few questions: first of all, arts policy is like other public policy, which comes out only under certain historical backgrounds or societal atmosphere. Hence, what is the historical development of American arts policy before the establishment of the National Endowment for the Arts? Secondly, how do art institutes in the United States find enough funding to run themselves under limited government funding? And what is the entire structure of American arts-funding system? In the third place, the National Endowment for the Arts, the biggest arts-funder in the United States, was established under the National Foundation on the Arts and Humanities Act of 1965. NEA claimed itself to be independent from the Federal Government and has been providing arts funding to each state over forty years. What is the background of its establishment, structure of the organization, and also distribution of the funding? Besides, what is the reviewing system and how does it work is also the part this research focusing on. In the end, different people may have different arguments on what the NEA has been doing over the past forty years. Therefore, what is the contribution the NEA brings to the American society, and also what are those arguments about?
This research basically gives its credit for what the NEA has activated the American arts environment and its contribution to the entire society as well, especially through its “match grant” system. Recently the NEA’s grants have been even more diverse, and covered almost all fields of the arts community. Furthermore, the NEA steadily promotes the arts domestically and internationally. Besides, it especially focuses on two important aspects, which are arts education and culture heritage. The former nourishes the arts from the roots, and the latter contributes a lot to the promotion and preservation of traditional American culture. However, “How to efficiently avoid political interferences” has been one of the most important and urgent issues the NEA confronts. This “political interference” includes two aspects, one is the relationship between the appointment of the president of the NEA and the government administration, and the other is the relationship between the NEA and its grants applicants. Overall, this research believes that if the NEA could overcome the so-called “political-interfered” issues, and has a better and clearer understanding toward the position it stands, doubtlessly, its contribution toward the entire American society would be even stronger.
Chapter 1 introduces the motives, methods, and also the literature reviews of this research. Chapter 2 contains the historical development of the arts policy of American Federal Government before the establishment of the NEA. Chapter 3 describes and focuses mainly on the current system of American arts funding. Chapter 4 would be a study on the National Endowment for the Arts, including its purposes and background of establishment, structure of the organization, distribution of funding, review system, strategic plans, and also its contribution to not only the Arts environment in the United States, but also the society itself. Chapter 5 would discuss the position of the NEA from both sides of the arguments through the crises and controversial issues that the NEA had been through, especially during the end of the 80s and the beginning of the 90s. Chapter 6 eventually would be the conclusion of this research.