The visual arts in Britain are substantially supported by state aid. However, the literary and performing arts are largely supported by the paying public. The accounts of many theatres and concert halls, most cinemas, clubs and conference centres, and all publishers will show that their income does not come primarily from the state but from members of the public who pay to enjoy their works.
Nevertheless, there are few arts organizations which are not at some point circumscribed by the state, if only because licensing and taxation involve private commercial organizations as much as public ones. And all arts organizations are as one in that among the first administrative decisions that have to be made is how the proper audience for each piece of work may be fully realized. That necessarily involves performing arts organizations drawing up budgets which pose the question: will we be able to reach our necessary income targets simply by selling, at the right price, to the proper audience? For gallery administrators the question may be rather different, but they have also to ask how they can draw in the best possible public to view and benefit from the art on display.
The 'proper' audience, for any art, is of course difficult to define. It might be thought to include all those people from the possible catchment area who might draw pleasure and benefit from the work, including people of all ages, from all ethnic minorities and disadvantaged groups, and with quite different income levels. But even such a noble definition does not in practice take us very far. Ethnic minorities have quirky interests like all other groups, and are not always best served by a patronizing service of what liberal bureaucrats think is 'their culture. Low wage earners may get more pleasure and benefit from a familiar 'good night out' than a heavily subsidized seat at the opera. So may high wage earners. Conversely we may find that an operatic aria (used perhaps to advertise a sporting event) suddenly becomes hugely popular and draws large audiences