Here’s what a wise arts policy might look like – John Tusa

From The Guardian

Arts Council England has just a tiny pot of money to distribute among arts organisations. The state needs to get a sense of perspective.

Yet again Arts Council England (ACE), which will this morning announce the new settlement for the organisations it backs, has struggled gamely to distribute a diminished pot of government funding in ways that are fair, wise and likely to help the arts world to flourish.

There will be (small) winners and (big) losers. Even the wisdom of Solomon could not satisfy everyone in the arts, not even those who truly deserve public funding.

The public political charade of behaving as if the size of the arts budget is a determinant of national prosperity has to stop. It is a lie; it is a diversion; it does more harm than good. A sensible arts policy is available and would benefit the nation and the economy rather than harm it. Its elements would go as follows …

A wise government, starting with a wise secretary of state for culture, would stop calling for the “arts to show evidence that they are value for money” and instead read any one of the dozen reports in recent years that prove that they are.

This is well-trodden ground. They could start with the letter to the Guardian in June 2013 from 20 economists from John Maynard Keynes’ Political Economy Club. They grossed up the sums attributable to the creative economy and tourism at 16% of the national economy and concluded: “These are the most obvious multiplier benefits of the arts to the economy.”

Read on here.

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