Culture Question:

What do Western people do to support High Culture?

(posted: March 21, 2011)

The full question was: "“High Culture” I think it’s just like the “traditional culture” in China. But nowadays, the traditional culture in China is being ignored. I want to know how do the western people do about High Culture?"

High Culture is supported through a combination of government and private actions in the West.

Governments (city, state/province, country) may provide financial support to performance groups (ballet companies, symphony orchestras, theatre groups, opera companies), art galleries and museums either directly through grants, or indirectly through tax breaks. Governments may also provide direct or indirect financial support to schools which train people in the skills of a High Culture art form.

Private support for High Culture may come from individuals who have a passion for the particular art form. Individuals might found professional performance groups or training centers to share their passion with others. Often these two (performance and training) are done together. People who have trained in an art form, even if they do not become professionals, generally have a strong appreciation for the art form and continue to support it long after they have stopped training in it. This is part of how an art form stays alive and thriving.

Corporations in the West will often sponsor High Culture events. This gives the corporations a lot of exposure and it is good public relations.

Private support may also come from Foundations ("organizations established to maintain, assist, or finance institutions or projects of a social, educational, charitable, religious, etc. nature, as by the making of grants" 1). Some Arts Foundations in the West include: New York Foundation for the Arts, Australia Business Arts Foundation, Black Rock Arts Foundation, The Arts Foundation of New Zealand, International Child Art Foundation, Alberta Foundation for the Arts, plus many, many more. Foundations get their money from donations from individuals, and many were started by a very rich individual who wanted to give something back to their community. The money that is donated to Foundations is generally invested and the interest earned on the investments is used to fund projects.

Individuals also support High Culture by attending performances (buying tickets), by making donations or even by training in an art form or encouraging their child to train. Individuals may also volunteer their time to help an Arts organization. Without the efforts of many volunteers most of these organizations could not survive.

If you are interested in reading about the history of a 'High Culture' organization follow this link to the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School in my hometown. Their history shows how the organization started with two women who brought ballet to Winnipeg. They set up a small school. They introduced many people to the art form, and started a professional ballet company. Both the company and the school have expanded and improved over the years and have grown to have world class reputations.


  1. “foundation definition”, ( ) 21-Mar-2011

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