I've noticed recently an interesting habit among theater artists. By theater artists I mean actors, directors, playwrights, sound/light technicians, etc. What I've noticed is people essentially paying people to see their work. Covering the ticket cost of their show for their friends and family. On the surface this could seem like just a nice gesture, but think about it. Do you know a lawyer who pays a client to take their case? A doctor who pays their patients to see them? A football player who pays people to come to their games? Theater artists have careers too, and it seems absurd to me to pay someone else for your work. Someone who can't afford to see a production is one thing, but having to coax someone into your audience by buying their ticket, especially someone who is supposed to support you, seems wrong to me.
It all goes back to the value of the arts, which I wrote about here. For some reason it is often assumed that theater artists will offer their services for free. Adding to that this habit of paying for people's tickets is bad. These practices continue to devalue the arts. Audiences must understand that a lot of money and work go into putting up a production. Hollywood isn't paying people to go to the theaters and see their movies, and we shouldn't be paying for people to come see us. Until we work harder for people to hold real value in the live arts the art sector will continue to struggle.