Can we really afford to cut spending in the arts when we don't manufacture much else?
Many of our young people are not 'academic' but they are gifted, talented and passionate in other ways. Disenfranchising our creative youth will have long term negative repercussions on the future of these people, and the shape of our society.
Another huge impact of the arts on society is the exposure of the individual to many different experiences. English professor at USC Hilary Schor explains, "while no inoculation against inhumanity, and sometimes even a catalyst for it, the arts represent the best chance we have for expanding our imagination.” Source.
Without art, literature, music and imaginative thinking we are limited to our own experiences of the world, and the people we meet. With the best will in the world most of us mix with a narrow variety of people (usually broadly like-minded people at that). The arts give us the scope to experience other peoples' lives, breaching boundaries of gender, time and geography.
In a heartfelt plea this week Jude Kelly, artistic director of Europe's largest arts complex, London's Southbank Centre, called for the institutional nurturing of talent by proper funding of the Arts. Speaking to the BBC on Thursday she said "This country is famous for the creative industries, we get huge amounts of tourism and export because of that" .
Obviously arts funding needs to continue across Britain, and not just focus on the capital, and to be fair the Arts Council themselves have shifted their plans from a London-centric way of thinking about funding in recent years.
However because Southbank is based in the capital Kelly goes on to encourage larger arts institutions in London to support smaller arts initiatives in these straightened times. She also made this bold statement about the perception of London internationally: "[the arts are] what makes London exceptional. We're probably more important than New York, Paris or any other place in terms of the creative and cultural industries."
Any businessman knows that in order for businesses to expand and flourish in the future investment at grass roots level is vital. It is not enough to just promote what is already successful. So this is not a wooly-minded argument about a feel-good factor it is a suggestion that if we do not act to preserve our place in the world the arts scene and the money it generates will go elsewhere, just like our manufacturing industries did.
Find me on Twitter @pondoris