Why is Philanthropy Important to the Arts and Accessibility?

Philanthropy is a creative and important way to address unfairness of arts funding, revitalize underserved communities, and advance social change.

By Rabia Kang, ArtsGreensboro Intern Summer 2022

Funding remains a constant issue for the arts. While supported by government funding, philanthropy plays a crucial role in elevating and supporting the arts, and much more. From empowering underserved youth to bringing community together, below are just several key reasons why philanthropy is important to supporting the arts and creating lasting impact on the community.

Access and participation in the arts is crucial to the health and wellbeing of the community, and improves the quality of life for many people. A study conducted by Createquity found that participating in arts activities helps to maintain the health and quality of life of older adults, arts therapies contributes to positive clinical outcomes such as reduction in anxiety, stress, and pain for patients, arts participation in early childhood promotes social and emotional development, and student participation in arts activities enhances cognitive abilities and social skills. More research from the National Library of Medicine also found that arts can improve psychological wellbeing for individuals, and help with their emotional wellbeing.

With proven strong correlation between the arts and wellbeing of community, supporting the arts through philanthropy is important in making a difference to the cause of improving lives through the arts. From creating lasting foundations in young children to helping motor skills in older adults, the arts touch upon diverse populations

A sculptor works in his studio sculpting a large white body and head

All students benefit greatly from access to arts education. However, the arts aren’t easily accessible to students from lower-income populations, which is why help from donors and philanthropists is crucial to closing the gap between the arts and underserved communities.

Equity in the arts touches upon intersectional issues that are much deeper than just access to the arts. The National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy found that only 10% of all foundation giving to the arts are to low-income populations, communities of color, and other disadvantaged groups. Moreover, The Center for Effective Philanthropy notes that foundation boards are predominantly white and mainly represent the wealthiest class, which means they have limited knowledge of and interactions with diverse arts organizations and people.

The pattern of exclusive and elitist arts funding compounds the issue of funding for the arts. According to a survey conducted by American for the Arts, about $14.6 billion has been lost by the arts in 2020, and out of the 63% of artists unemployed, most were artists of color.

ArtsGreensboro’s Grant Program is designed to serve organizations and individuals with an emphasis on access, inclusion, and cultural equity. Learn more about how you can be a part of ArtsGreensboro’s mission to elevate, amplify, and support the arts and community. 

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Related Readings:

  1. https://cep.org/the-art-of-philanthropy-the-philanthropy-of-art/ 
  2. https://givingcompass.org/article/arts-and-culture-philanthropy 
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About ArtsGreensboro:
ArtsGreensboro invests in programs that provide access to the arts for all citizens, support arts integration in our schools, build capacity for our arts community, and unify the community through the power of the arts.

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