I think it is important for a community to support its arts. A primary means for supporting the art is communtiy festivals like the upcoming Days of 47 festivities, and I would even give the sponsoring community bands and buying art from local artists is a very good idea since it helps employ local artists.
Anyway, I was looking at the Salt Lake Twilight Concert Series. This seems like it is going a bit overboard. The stated goal of thise series is to provide a venue for "nationally and internationally acclaimed performing artists" (not local artists).
The concerts are not part of a community celebration. It is just a weekly series of late night entertainment. The mission of the program is to provide "sustenance for the body and soul." At this state sponsored event you can get body art and psychic readings. The web site'ss goal behind this event sounds more like a religious service than a community event.
The line up has some really big names like Left Over Salmon. It is not like these are groups that have difficult selling tickets. Quite frankly, the state paying for top talent makes it harder for all the little local bands to get paying gigs at local night clubs.
The events aren't overcoming a deficit of live music. Salt Lake is on a crossroads which all but guarantees that music venues will fill up with top talent.
I do everything I can to support local art. I just am not sure if providing free tickets to top international talent is the best use of taxpayer's dollars. I guess my affinity is with the artists on the outside of the political structure.