Friday, 16 July 2010

Some thoughts about arts funding and football

The “cuts” debate has – perhaps unsurprisingly – brought about an agonised response from the arts establishment, the Theatres Trust and an eclectic collection of the cultural great and good who say:


“…to “cut us but don’t kill us,” warning that if belt-tightening was drastic and immediate, museums would cancel blockbuster shows, theaters would go dark, and 200 of 850 state-funded bodies would lose their subsidy.”

The problem is that – unlike other sectors – the lion’s share of arts funding doesn’t go to the grass roots but to the elite establishment run by those whining about how those cuts will damage them. There is no doubt that the way in which we support the arts needs to be changed – elite art should be able to pay its own way, indeed should contribute to the development of new art, the support of emerging artists and the encouragement of audience.

Art – and especially performing art – should learn from another part of our cultural sphere:


The Football Foundation was set up as a partnership to oversee youth development and football at the grassroots. Premier League chairman Dave Richards said: "This is an exciting and important moment for English football. "We have pledged over £7m to the Foundation for the rest of this year and £27.5m each year for three years from 2001 under the terms of the new TV deal - a total investment of almost £90m.”

And that funding continues today backed up by ongoing commitment from the Football Association and the active involvement of individual clubs and players. Without a single penny of taxpayers funding football supports the development and extension of the game.

Why can’t theatre do that? Or opera?

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3 comments:

Obnoxio The Clown said...

"The problem is that – unlike other sectors – the lion’s share of arts funding doesn’t go to the grass roots but to the elite establishment run by those whining about how those cuts will damage them."

"Unlike other sectors"? What fucking planet are you on?

Phil said...

I'm missing something here but aren't the arts funded because people aren't interested in them - at least not enough to pay for them. Whereas football doesn't need to be for the same reason? What 'elite art' pays for itself?

Simon Cooke said...

Phil, the London commenrcial theatres alone turn over £750 million plus (very profitably)