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Should the tax payer be funding the arts?


Guest pelmetman

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Unfortunately there's a lot of crossover of Arts graduates between the media and the various arts organisations, which results in a lot of media outrage when arts funding is cut. The impression is cultivated that the arts are somehow inherently deserving of taxpayer support.

 

We've grown out of this attitude with other industries (indeed, subsidising most things is illegal under EU and international competition law!) so why do we still do it for the arts? Especially when those "subsidised" ticket prices are still out of reach of most people!

Artists and performers, like everyone else, should produce work that people want to pay for (at a price people are willing to pay!), rather than having their hands in all our pockets because no-one will buy tickets to their events/exhibitions.

 

Taxpayers' money should be primarily for defence of the realm, law and order, education, and the protection of the weakest (eg NHS, welfare "safety net" etc). To subsidise the arts when those key things are being cut drastically is just plain wrong.

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Fully agree Tony,

Why should the taxpayers subsidise say, Ballet or Opera, which appeals to such a small proportion of the population & when generally that small proportion are the most able to afford it.

Elitism at it's worst , I'm just surprised it's the Tories who have introduced the cuts.

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Yes - well said Tony. I agree with what you say.

 

I do however think that we should "invest" in certain entertainment ventures rather than do what happens now where it seems that a lot of "luvvies" have the ear of those with the purse strings and get huge grants to do strange things in the name of "Art".

 

For example - I do think that we can do better for our film industry by way of specific film investment funds and tax breaks. Films show a return and if we “invest” tax payer £’s then it should be with the idea of a return not a hand-out.

 

So the latest cuts in handouts - to me - seem like a good idea. On our local BBC news this evening we had a report from an art gallery which seemed to have been converted into a brown paper tunnel or cave with crude hand sized stars cut out of the paper and in the middle a load of what can only be described as "tat on a table" that I have seem similar before at car boot sales.

 

The whole effect was rather like a Santa Claus Grotto in brown. And frankly - I have taken part in making a Christmas grotto for the town and a) I think it was better made and b) we did not ask for £100,000's in government grants to make it.

 

Now the chap running this extravaganza was bemoaning the fact that his grant had gone.

 

Swimbo and I looked at one another and said "have we paid for that?"

 

And it seems that we have - but will not be next year.

 

Quite happy with that.

 

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It depends whether you believe that Art enriches life, it does mine. Many of the things I enjoy like Opera, theater plays, Art Galleries etc would not survive without some form subsidy. As a pensioner I have, like others, limited means so its not just a simple case of putting up prices. My understanding there have been cuts to the overall budget in line with cuts elsewhere so the Arts appear to be doing their bit. It seems that the National Lottery is also stepping in to fill some of the gaps.

 

As to 'strange art' there are not many of us who would not like to own a certain picture of a tin of baked beans but when it was first painted not many of us would have given it house room!

 

David

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Hi,

 

Well, the local health people have ceased to pay for my dentures (Same everywhere else?) and have stopped funding the monthly visit by a rubbish skip (nearest tip is 14 miles) , so the artists don't want to paint my portrait, and I have nowhere to dump that portrait, if the did.

 

602

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I am sure we all have our differing tastes and I am not trying to say that we should only have one type of “Art” – but when you get the Tate in 1999 displaying Tracey Emin’s unmade bed as “Art” and in the year before the same Tate was seen to be conned into buying a pile of bricks to display as “Art” – frankly one begins to ask questions about what exactly is the tax £ being spent on when given to the Arts.

 

And only this week – this report:-

 

“Parliamentary committee says the charity also spent far too much on administration

A committee of MPs has criticised the Arts Council England, a quango with charitable status that funds arts organisations, for wasting public money and spending too much on administration.

The Culture, Media and Sport Committee report, Funding of the Arts and Heritage, also said it was concerned that the Arts Council might not be supporting applicants for grants as well as it should.

 

The full article is at :-

 

http://www.thirdsector.co.uk/channels/Management/Article/1062440/Arts-Council-England-wasted-public-money-say-MPs/

 

And if you do link to it – be sure to read the comment from someone who tried to get a grant for something that seems to me to be a worthwhile project – but after 7 years of trying gave up as -

 

“.......it was always the favoured few that had a better chance of getting funding."

 

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I can't see art lovers rushing to subsidize my hobbies so why on earth should they expect me to fund theirs?

 

Things like the film industry where some funding may show a profitable return I'm happy with that.

 

Opera, drama, art galleries, bally and the like if their fans what it let them pay for it. Prices for art and the like are in my opinion grossly inflated because grants help to pay for them.

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Of course we should fund the arts, the only question for me is by how much.

 

Art enriches all our lives, particularly in my view public art. I don't particlarly like ballet, for one thing I can never hear what they're saying, but just because I don't like it, who am I to say no to funding. Once you stop funding arts, society becomes a much worse place. Simples.

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I would not describe art commissioned/bought for public places, or for public display, as benefiting from subsidy.  So many public spaces/places would be the poorer without their paintings and sculptures. 

However, it seems to me that most of the arts subsidy in reality goes to opera, ballet, and theatre, and I do think this should cease.  Maybe, if there is a argument as to public benefit from the performing arts, any subsidy deemed necessary should become voluntary, possibly being funded through the/a lottery.

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Guest pelmetman

A example of the waste *-)

 

NHS bosses have blown £421,000 on modern art to decorate a new hospital wing as the trust faces making savage cuts to its budget.

 

Taxpayers' cash has been spent on works including a suspended metal and glass vortex in the courtyard dubbed a 'huge basketball ring' and two ten foot tall human statues.

 

The bill for the new wing of Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford, Essex, comes as Mid Essex Hospitals Trust attempts to cut £40million from its budget in the face of government belt-tightening.

 

Makes you wonder what planet the chief executive lives on >:-( ........

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Hi,

 

Art will not stop just because we stop funding it. Artists will do it because they want to ..... which might be to the benefit of Art.

 

Mother nature plans things so that you enjoy what is good for you (or our species). So if the government GAVE us all "art vouchers" which we could exchange for the priviledge of enjoying the art we enjoyed, and the artists could sell the vouchers back to the government ..... money would go to the Arts that we enjoy, and thpse we don't enjoy would have to stand on their own feet or fall by the wayside.

 

If I was having to wait several months/years for medical treatment because public money was being spent on non-esential services (such as art, and cultural thingies like town twinning) I would tend to be unhappy.

 

602

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The "Arts" at the end of the day are for entertainment & enjoyment (if that's your thing)

But then, so are "Pop Stars", "Footballers", etc..

There would soon be an outcry if either of the latter were subsidied by taxpayers, so why should the "Arts" be any different.

 

The "Arts" should stand or fall by their popularity & patronage, with salaries comensurate with the income they generate.

The majority of the population have to live on a salary their skills command in the workplace, so why should the Arts be any different.

Welcome to the real world, start looking for commercial sponsorship but do not expect the taxpaying public to keep forking out to keep them in a starstruck lifestyle.

 

Get rid of the subsidies & the "Arts" Council (jobs for the boys) becomes extinct (hopefully).

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Guest 1footinthegrave

Not on our uppers here in Wales, our local health authority spent 2.5 million pounds to provide just FOUR extra car parking spaces at our local hospital, perhaps that's why art funding is being withdrawn, don't believe me, read about it here. Mind you they are closing our local school (they say ) to save £60 k a year, that's good then they will get the cost back in 50 years.

 

http://www.metro.co.uk/news/845261-parking-mad-hospital-spends-2-5m-on-four-car-parking-spaces

 

 

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I would rather stop a despot killing people than waste money on luvvies.

 

I think turning your back on people in need so more money can be spent on frivolous "Art" for our enjoyment whilst people like Gaddaffi export terror and Saddam kills people by gassing (Halabja) would be supreme decadence on our part.

 

I would want no part of that.

 

Sorry Marrowgirl – but in my view you need to seriously think it through a little better.

 

 

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Not quite sure where that thinking might end, though, Clive.  We should ride to the aid of any population in distress (there are still quite a few left here and there) and have our own towns cities and public buildings devoid of art of any kind to fund it.  Might just about pay for a cruise missile, but unlikely to pay for the launch platform.  Besides, this game of being the world's policemen is hugely costly (blood and treasure etc), and I thought you were concerned public expenditure was too high.  Follow what you appear to be saying, and we can all go bankrupt in a handcart, to mix a metaphor or three!  :-)

Neither Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya (yet), or even Palestine for that matter, are particularly glowing examples of what can be achieved by wading into other countries with our simple morals and conviction that all they need is a dose of democracy!  I'm not entirely convinced the world may not be a better place if we (and a few others!) just stayed at home and painted, sculpted, danced, sang - or whatever else is classed as an art - at whose-ever expense!  :-D

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Tony Jones - 2011-03-30 10:31 PM

 

Unfortunately there's a lot of crossover of Arts graduates between the media and the various arts organisations, which results in a lot of media outrage when arts funding is cut. The impression is cultivated that the arts are somehow inherently deserving of taxpayer support.

 

We've grown out of this attitude with other industries (indeed, subsidising most things is illegal under EU and international competition law!) so why do we still do it for the arts? Especially when those "subsidised" ticket prices are still out of reach of most people!

Artists and performers, like everyone else, should produce work that people want to pay for (at a price people are willing to pay!), rather than having their hands in all our pockets because no-one will buy tickets to their events/exhibitions.

 

Taxpayers' money should be primarily for defence of the realm, law and order, education, and the protection of the weakest (eg NHS, welfare "safety net" etc). To subsidise the arts when those key things are being cut drastically is just plain wrong.

 

 

 

I agree 100%

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Neither Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya (yet), or even Palestine for that matter, are particularly glowing examples of what can be achieved by wading into other countries with our simple morals and conviction that all they need is a dose of democracy!

 

Hi Brian,

 

It never did us any harm, just look at the history of Great Britain. Everybody had a go at liberating us ...... Saxons, Normans, Romans, etc, probably a few I've missed. But then, they were not importing Democracy. All the incoming genes spread throughout the land, and we bred people like "Jemima the Great" (Google). All we are doing now is repaying the rest of the world what we owe them. I think, (lol)

 

602

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