I would prefer arts be supported by individuals and corporations rather than government; my reasons are centered upon the reality that the government's responsibilities (constitutionally) do not extend to supporting arts and humanities. For that matter, most of what the government does is beyond the constitution. Yes, I am a curmudgeonly libertarian conservative hoping for severe limitations upon centralized federal government.
I am not unsympathetic to your viewpoint, Tim. Once upon a time, I worked in an art gallery. And I have spent a great deal of time strolling about art museums. I long ago concluded that collecting art takes almost as much talent as making it. If you have someone like Dana Gioia in charge, well that's one thing. But there aren't a lot of people of that caliber around.