We expect that the National Endowment for the Arts is around to help artists substantially more than other organizations. However, not only is it not living up to that expectation, but it's being beat by a tech start up. The ounder of Kickstarter Perry Chen said at the Aspen Ideas Festival that the crowdfunding website has funded over $600 million in art projects. Aspen Institute president Walter Isaacson said that “might be now more than the federal government spent on the arts in a given year?” continuing later “in some ways… you’ve invented something that does what the NEA used to do and can’t quite do now.”
And he's right. "The NEA had a total federal appropriation of $146 million, of which 80 percent went toward grants," according to The Washington Post. However, Kickstarter gave out around $323.6 million to its art projects. A tech start up is beating government grants.
However, to be fair, individual donors have always been the main source of income for arts projects. Individuals provide 75 percent of all private donations, according to the NEA. Kickstarter mediates the process of connecting private donors to artists. So don't give up on the world yet.