No doubt many in the arts community are concerned at rising levels of public sector austerity. For many their very existence depends on public funding of one sort or another.
Few, though, will of necessity understand the underlying logic why there are public funding programmes for the arts in the first place, apart from vague notions that the arts are valuable. But funding the arts gets mixed up in funding culture and that involves public values and what is, and what isn’t, of culture importance.
I have a short piece in the UK magazine, Art of England (Issue 72 August 2010), “How to swing the arts funding axe: a user guide”, which draws on my own experience in policy to present what are essentially four options facing the arts/culture community. Choosing amongst the options would lead to an approach to the use of public funding and have an impact of one sort or another on the shape of culture institutions and the behaviour of artists themselves.
If you are concerned about the ways the arts are funded, but don’t want to read a thick book, this short article may illuminate the issues. Email me with your preferred choice.