“…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?