This is definitely a difficult one! In an ideal world, art would be free and accessible for everyone. However, I don’t think this is realistic. One example that comes to mind is theatre. Free theatre events are fantastic, but so many people come together to work on a show that really need to be paid – actors, tech teams, theatre staff. I think, with the increasing accessibility to art, it is also difficult to debate which art should be free to see, and which “deserves” to be hidden behind a paywall. I’m constantly torn between wanting art to be accessible and not elitist, but the creative community needs funding to exist.
In an ideal world, art would be free for everyone, right? I just don’t think that’s possible right now. Art, like everything else, costs money; artists need paint and writers need publishers. Theatres need sets and actors and costumes. Despite that, art is for everyone and should be enjoyed by everyone, and things are heading in that direction; free theatre events are more common now. I think art is finally gaining a real foothold in our world, so maybe in the future, things will be different.
I think in an ideal world maybe, but within current structures, making all art free would diminish its quality. Art improves and reaches wider audiences when it’s created by more diverse people. Often the people telling the most nuanced, difficult and touching stories are also the first to have their ability to produce and spread their art removed in times of hardship. I am of the belief that artists should always be paid fairly for their work, and that anyone who has the means should feel obliged to pay artists with the same mindset as anyone else providing them a service.
Nevertheless, this does not mean that people shouldn’t be able to access art if they don’t have the financial means of paying. I feel as though once the income produced by an artist/piece reaches a threshold which allows them to earn a decent income and function as a business, they should take on the responsibility of making their work accessible to those who cannot pay. This may mean that people who can’t afford it only have access to bigger, more successful artists, but I guess it’s not an ideal world.
No, whilst plenty of artists can claim that they only make their art for the sake of the art itself, many artists need to make money from their art to survive, particularly if it’s their primary skill and the other option would be to work a minimum wage job. Making all art free would remove viability for many artists to pursue it as a career, even if only modestly successful.