The importance and benefit of the arts

I’m pleased to see that the great and the good are arguing the importance of the arts to our economy in Cultural Capital in the UK, a Manifesto for the Future launched yesterday (25 March 2010) in London by an alliance of arts leaders from the Arts Council, British Museum and National Theatre.

The Guardian headlines their article Cash for Culture Can Boost UK Economy, and says “The alliance argued that the arts were a growth industry that could have a major impact on the economy with the help of a minimal but crucial public investment.”

I believe for all of our members the argument that the arts is a creative force that is critical to the nation, that puts us on the international stage and brings benefits financial and spiritual is one we understand well. But it is true that the seed monies, the investments of public spending is crucial.

“Well done to the Arts Council for launching the Manifesto.”

It is time for a campaign to argue the importance and benefit of the arts. Whether it is to ensure that the BBC continues to make the quality dramas it is famous for, or that our local theatres and arts centres provide for our communities or that films are made here, we need for politicians and voters to understand that the arts can provide growth and employment. Arts Council UK says “In 2009 the 52 major theatres in central London, representing a mix of subsidised and commercial theatres and productions, had their best year ever, worth £504 million in box office receipts.”

These are the arguments we can use to fight the cuts that are hurting us.

I especially appreciate the argument being made for increased funding in building up to the Olympics in 2012, rather than all of the lottery funding heading to the London Olympics.

We will have a few weeks to shine internationally and to fail because we have not sustained the creative sector would be a waste that could damage our cultural credibility in the years that follow.

Well done to the Arts Council for launching the Manifesto and campaign and let’s ensure that our members are supporting and arguing the cause.

For our own BECTU campaigns and elections, I am asking for your vote as RPD’s representative on the NEC and for President of the union. Ballot papers were sent out last week and members have until the 30th of April to vote.

Please encourage your colleagues to post in those ballots.

Categories: Arts

Picture of Christine Bond