Indeed, people have been saying since last year that Kickstarter funds more art-related projects than the NEA. And it’s true! For 2012, the NEA had a total federal appropriation of $146 million, of which 80 percent went toward grants. Kickstarter funded roughly $323.6 million of art-related projects if you include all design and video-related projects, which make up $200 million of the total.
That is from Katherine Boyle. Note that the actual comparison has less weight on the NEA side than this portrait might suggest. The NEA itself notes: “Forty percent of the NEA’s funds go to the 56 state and jurisdictional arts agencies and the six regional arts organizations in support of arts projects in thousands of communities across the country…” To be sure, these are “grants,” but there is still room in the process for overhead — that ogre of non-profit work — to intervene as yet another grant has to be made.