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  • I come from a family of five brothers,

  • all scientists and engineers.

  • A few years ago, I sent them the following email:

  • "Dear brothers, I hope this message finds you well.

  • I am emailing to let you know

  • that I'm dropping out of my master's program in engineering

  • to pursue a career as a full-time musician.

  • All that I ask from you is not to worry about me."

  • Brother number one replied.

  • He was encouraging but a bit skeptical.

  • He said, "I wish you the best of luck.

  • You're going to need it."

  • (Laughter)

  • Brother number two was a little bit more skeptical.

  • He said, "Don't do it!

  • This will be the worst mistake of your life.

  • Find a real career."

  • (Laughter)

  • Well, the rest of my brothers were so enthusiastic about my decision,

  • they didn't even respond.

  • (Laughter)

  • I know that the skepticism coming from my brothers

  • is out of care and concern for me.

  • They were worried.

  • They thought it would be difficult to make it as an artist,

  • that it will be a challenge.

  • And you know what? They were right.

  • It is such a challenge to be a full-time artist.

  • I have so many friends who need to have a second job

  • as a plan B in order to pay for the bills,

  • except that plan B sometimes becomes their plan A.

  • And it's not just my friends and I who experience this.

  • The US Census Bureau states that only 10 percent of art school graduates

  • end up working as full-time artists.

  • The other 90 percent, they change careers,

  • they work in marketing, sales, education and other fields.

  • But this is not news, right?

  • We almost expect the artist to be a struggling artist.

  • But why should we expect that?

  • I read an article in the "Huffington Post"

  • saying that four years ago, the European Union

  • began the world's largest ever arts funding initiative.

  • Creative Europe will give 2.4 billion dollars

  • to over 300,000 artists.

  • In contrast, the US budget for our National Endowment for the Arts,

  • the largest single funder for the arts across the United States,

  • is merely 146 million dollars.

  • To put things into perspective,

  • the US budget for the military marching bands alone

  • is almost twice as much as the entire NEA.

  • Another striking image comes from Brendan McMahon for the "Huffington Post,"

  • saying that out of the one trillion dollar budget

  • for military and defense-related spending,

  • if only 0.05 percent were allocated to the arts,

  • we would be able to pay for 20 full-time symphony orchestras

  • at 20 million dollars apiece,

  • and give over 80,000 artists

  • an annual salary of 50,000 dollars each.

  • If that's only 0.05 percent,

  • imagine what a full one percent could do.

  • Now, I know we live in a capitalist society,

  • and profits matter a lot.

  • So let's look at it from a financial angle, shall we?

  • The US nonprofit arts industry

  • generates more than 166 billion dollars in economic activity,

  • it employs 5.7 million people

  • and it returns 12.6 billion dollars

  • in tax revenue.

  • But this is only a financial angle, right?

  • We all know that the arts is way more than just an economic value.

  • The arts brings meaning to life.

  • It's the spirit of our culture.

  • It brings people together and it supports creativity

  • and social cohesion.

  • But if the arts contributes this much to our economy,

  • why then do we still invest so little in arts and artists?

  • Why do more than 80 percent of our schools nationwide

  • still experience budget cuts in arts education programs?

  • What is it about the value of arts and artists

  • that we still don't understand?

  • I believe the system is flawed and far from being fair,

  • and I want to help change that.

  • I want to live in a society

  • where artists are more valued

  • and have more cultural and financial support

  • so they can focus on creating arts instead of being forced to drive Ubers

  • or take corporate jobs they'd rather not have.

  • There are other sources of income for artists, however.

  • There are private foundations,

  • grants and patrons who give money,

  • except a vast majority of artists don't know about these opportunities.

  • On one side you have institutions and people with money.

  • On the other side you have artists seeking funding,

  • but the artists don't know about the people with the money,

  • and the people with the money don't necessarily know

  • about the artists out there.

  • This is why I am very excited to share "Grantpa,"

  • an online platform that uses technology

  • to match artists with grants and funding opportunities

  • in a way that is easy, fast and less intimidating.

  • Grantpa is only one step towards solving an existing problem

  • of funding inequality,

  • but we need to work collectively on multiple fronts

  • to reevaluate how we view the artists in our society.

  • Do we think of arts as a luxury or a necessity?

  • Do we understand what goes on in the day-to-day life of an artist,

  • or do we still believe that artists, no matter how struggling they are,

  • are happy simply because they're following their passion?

  • In a few years, I plan to send my brothers the following email:

  • "Dear brothers, I hope this message finds you well.

  • I am emailing to let you know that I am doing great

  • and so are hundreds of thousands of artists

  • who are being valued more culturally and financially

  • and getting enough funding to focus on their crafts

  • and create more art.

  • I appreciate all of your support.

  • Couldn't have done it without you."

  • Thank you.

  • (Applause)

I come from a family of five brothers,

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B1 US TED funding full time percent artist budget

【TED】Hadi Eldebek: Why must artists be poor? (Why must artists be poor? | Hadi Eldebek)

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    Zenn posted on 2018/05/01
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