Wednesday, 1 May 2013

How we value the arts

That the arts are central to the economy is not an isolated idea, or a new one. It’s one that has widespread support, refuses to go away and needs to be challenged by as many voices as possible, as often as is necessary; especially in these financially pressured times, when it is all too easy to give in to short-term thinking to please those handing out the paltry sums. 
If we were to nurture only that which contributed to the economy it is likely that the safe, the tried and the tested would be funded. It is likely that the new, the risky and experimental would be avoided because the question would not be is it interesting, or good, but what is the expected return?

That’s from a recent article in The Scotsman: Art is for art’s sake, not fuelling the economy. You can read the whole piece here.

If we keep emphasising the economic aspects of the arts—how many people the sector employs, the tourist revenue it brings in, etc—aren’t we shooting ourselves in our collective feet? It may be unfashionable, not what the politicians want to hear, especially in an election year, but shouldn’t we be making cultural and aesthetic arguments? If we don’t, if we keep thinking only, or primarily, in terms of budgets and matters commercial and fiscal, we risk becoming a culturally impoverished society that knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.

No Nudity, Weapons or Naked Flames coming up at the Tap Gallery.

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