Value of Arts

Today's world is obsessed with measuring the impact of every field of public (subsidised) activity. Does your project entail spending public money? Then be prepared to justify its value with numbers and facts.

While numerous studies reveal the power of culture in driving economic growth and creating jobs, it is difficult to quantify the intangible impacts of arts.

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"The first fruits of the EU’s new “cultural strategy” for external relations was on show at the Development Days conference in Brussels on Wednesday (15 June), as a theatre troupe from both warring sides in Sri Lanka showed how working together could aid in post-conflict resolution."
Most artists earn very little. Nevertheless, there is no shortage of aspiring young artists. Do they give to the arts willingly or unknowingly? Governments and other institutions also give to the arts, to raise the low incomes. But their support is ineffective: subsidies only increase the artists' poverty. The economy of the arts is exceptional. Although the arts operate successfully in the marketplace, their natural affinity is with gift-giving, rather than with commercial exchange. People believe that artists are selflessly dedicated to art, that price does not reflect quality, and that the...
"This article presents findings from an in-depth project carried out with five audience-participants at cultural events during Leeds’ annual LoveArts festival. The researchers asked participants to explain what the arts meant to them. They discovered that people found cultural value difficult to articulate. They concluded that instead of striving to rationalise the value of the arts, we should try to feel and experience it."
“Art is not able to change the world, but art can show the future and the past. We had to come back and deal with identity. You can’t rebuild a country without rebuilding identity.” Rithy Pahn
"Creative drama has grown in recent years and become the keystone of the work of numerous charities, NGOs and theatre companies across Europe. Programmes using this approach provide bespoke toolkits and advanced training, tailored with care to individual situations in order to access the cultural traditions and understanding of a project’s audience to clearly and sensitively address areas of conflict for communities or age groups."
How should we understand the difference that arts and culture makes to individuals and to society? The case is too often presented in terms of benefits that are thought to be important to the government of the day while neglecting some of the more fundamental benefits that matter to us all. Catch up with the podcast below:
The Hungarian government regards all autonomous organizations as a threat and is attempting to bring them under its own influence, or make their operations impossible.
How can there be an arts industry when the artist has no guaranteed income?
written by David Pleger One of the most straightforward responses to the issue of the arts, its relation to the marketplace and public funding was an initiative of the Culture Secretary of Rio de Janeiro who, in 2012, split the arts budget down the middle. One half was apportioned to the commercial sector as ‘investment’, the other to the not-for-profit sector as ‘a grant’ (without any requirements to justify its receipt). This approach seemed to balance the contesting arguments around arts funding – one that recognises art as a public good and the other that frames it as a commodity in the...
A little soupçon of beauty? Joanna Mendelssohn, Associate Professor, Art & Design: UNSW Australia There comes a time in the ancient Chinese lingering execution, lingchi or Death by a Thousand Cuts, when the prisoner begs for the final stroke to end the torture – and life. The good news is that the latest round of Australia Council four year funding grants shows that it is not there yet. Some essential visual arts publications have had their four year funding renewed, as have some exhibition spaces with a fair national spread. From looking at what has been funded (and from hearing the...
How can art and culture get the societal recognition of their importance and their function as tool for international - and transatlantic relations?

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