Should We Support Arts Organizations Or Musicians?

05/03/2012 05:06 pm ET | Updated May 03, 2012

A few weeks ago, David Beem made a bold statement to HuffPost readers. In a piece titled "Slash Your Local Orchestra," Beem, a former professional cellist, painted a stark picture of life for a working chamber musician -- one of fewer jobs, crushing debt, and minimal pay for those lucky enough to get hired, by organizations that may not be able to keep them. Even now, the celebrated but bankrupt Philadelphia Orchestra is mired in a lengthy reorganization that may cost them millions. And yet, orchestras give jobs to talented musicians, provide an invaluable resource for audiences, and record music for future generations.

Beem's statements made many of you speak up on both sides of the debate. Commenter sjctrumpet blamed universities for not preparing musicians for the real world: "It sounds crazy, for music educators to discourage their students from becoming a music professional, but in reality they would be doing everyone a huge favor by only recommending a music career to their most talented."

Now we're hoping you'll tell us more about what you think. Should we be supporting our arts organizations, whatever the difficulties they have, or should we focus our attention on individuals? Could we give musicians the means to exit what Beem describes as a broken system by funding them directly?

Take a moment to answer the question below, and please let us know your thoughts in the comments.