I guess you never got blistered as a kid over the whole "everyone else is doing it, so why not me" school of excuses. I can't think of a dumber reason to spend money confiscated from other people than the offer that the cause you want to spend on is not as worthless as someone else's... It is corporate welfare, plain and simple.
Well, W/S currently has a program of funding downtown restaurants, many of which have defaulted and/or are behind on their loans. I can't say that I'm for that program. That is truly corporate welfare as it measurably benefits only one entity: the restaurant owner. Let's end that program and spend the funds on proven successes — like RiverRun, for example. RiverRun attracts spenders to a wide variety of businesses and vendors in the city, as does other downtown 'arts' ventures such as the Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night entertainment that happens in downtown W/S each night of the summer. A wide variety of tax-paying citizens benefit from that, myself included.
During RiverRun 2005, W/S hotels, restaurants, and downtown streets were packed. That's good for all of us. Most folks who are so adamantly repelled by culture on their block (and in their neighborhood) generally don't live on one (or in one); you can always opt to live outside W/S where you don't pay city taxes. Most folks who don't support such things do and more power to them.
The government has no busines spending money on the "arts," if for no other reason than that no one can offer on objective definition of what they are. If the market is interested enough in supporting a film festival, the money will be made available for its support. There is no reason to rob the whole population so a small cadre of elites can enjoy something only they are likely to find enjoyable.
And here's a 'good job!' for trying to turn the subject of RiverRun into class warfare; wait, I thought that just liberals used that as a tactic for argument? I guess you can use it, too, huh?