I visited the site for United States Artists the other day when they announced their 2009 grants- alas I was not among the grantees, the notice had not been lost in the mail- and came across this bit of disturbing but not surprising information:
"A country that loves art, not artists
In a survey of attitudes toward artists in the U.S. a vast majority of Americans, 96%, said they were greatly inspired by various kinds of art and highly value art in their lives and communities. But the data suggests a strange paradox. While Americans value art, the end product, they do not value what artists do. Only 27% of respondents believe that artists contribute "a lot" to the good of society."
Explains a lot, doesn't it?