The Value of Arts
'Spillover effects' are the new 'impacts' and measuring them the new adagium. But are they the route to convince and influence policy making? Or do we need new strategies, new alliances, new audiences? And - as Nina Obuljen stated in her wrap up in our Satellite meeting in Paris - should we focus on the biggest threat: the declining status of the artists.
What happens when you put 50 something arts&culture people in a room to discuss the problem for the public support for the arts? They come up with a decisive and well laid-out strategy for advocacy? No! They end up critiquing, deconstructing, exploring, sharing, wandering, getting lost and having fun!
And this is what happened in Paris! After hours of talking about policy-making in our group someone said - we should explain ourselves less and do more arts! In my opinion, what that group of people showed is what the sector is about. About dissenting, surprise, exploration, lack-of structure and the abundance of experience. We refuse to be packed in a box and sold on a sale. We refuse to be part of deterministic stories with romantic-comedy style happy ends. That is the value of the arts. And as far as it might undermine some of our struggles to legitimise our voices, if we lose that, than it is not a voice worth hearing anyway.
Well put Goran. We may be unfocused and unrealistic and what have you, but some of us (like you) have the power of coining the right phrases. Do you mind if I use some or all of the above when needed (credited of course)?
I agree with Nan. I am not sure if there is a truth out there, but I am quite sure stories we tell do make a difference. Tnx, Philippe! Of course.
Don't forget that stating that the arts are one of the last domains where we are taking the courage to risk failure, to think out of boxes and fixed categories, to celebrate the unforseen and react immediate when needed - is pure argumenting for the arts. But unfortunately we need people to 'translate' that and advocate why all this is essential to keep (or recover) healthy societies.
Totally agree with Nan. Since we understand art as a tool for social transformation, we consider necessary the fact of creating and developing new alliances among artists, policy makers, festival producers and distributors; that is to say, everyone working on arts and culture fields. It is worth creating new performances and taking risks only if all active culture agents give the same value to what we do. Therefore, fortunately or unfortunately we should gather all active agents into the same direction. As an example, we are founding members of ARTEKALE which is the Street Arts Association of the Basque Country to promote the dignity and recognition of the street arts sector. This association gathers distributors, producers, festivals and artists. In this way, we try to influence not only policy makers but also audiences.