There was a very powerful illustration in Spike Online this week about why the arts industry should be careful about promoting benefits of artistic activity that don’t include artistic qualities.
Tiffany Jenkins notes that recently seven major arts entities in England teamed up on a proposal that stated funding the arts “will improve: ‘participation’, ‘self-esteem’ ‘community cohesion’, social regeneration’, ‘economic vitality’ and ‘health’.”
Also recently, Prime Minister Gordon Brown stated that the 2012 Olympics “will increase volunteering, create community cohesion and tackle obesity.” The Treasury has suggested the games will result in “urban regeneration, to economic prosperity.”
Says Jenkins (my emphasis)-
Hence culture and sport find themselves competing, not as discreet public goods or ends in their own right, but as interchangeable vehicles aiming to deliver on a set of identical priorities, which does neither of them any favours. Once the arts are viewed merely as a tool for delivering prescribed economic or social outcomes, there is no reason why the arts should be favoured.
A bit of background if you hadn’t been following the news- The arts community in England is quite upset because their funding got cut by