Saturday, October 17, 2009

Can a Facebook Campaign bring Traffic to a Standstill?

The couple of paragraphs on the arts stuck into the new programme for government agreed by the Greens and FF are not in any way, shape or form inspiring or reassuring. I'm not looking at it now but if memory serves all it said was that a priority was to move the Abbey into the GPO, not ditch the Film Board and do what it could to encourage participation in the arts.

In other words the only important aspect of professional theatre in the mind of our incumbant government is the cultural tourism aspect. Lets have a big, expensive National Theatre building on the capital's main street. They clearly don't understand that its what goes on inside that's important and that - if the truth be told - the state and location of the building doesn't actually matter. No matter, this government is committed to another expensive capital project which will ultimate pour money into the builing sector and take it out of the theatre sector. Its a very clear indication that the this government favours those insititutions that feed their agenda of cultural tourism - and that represents five clients of the arts council.

They won't do away with the film board. That's a good thing, but why isn't there a similar assurance in the programme for government that they won't do away with the dept of arts etc or a reassurane that they wont reduce the arts council budget by 40% over the next two years? Because the decision has already been taken.

I remember sitting at a board meeting for an arts organisation that was in financial trouble some years ago, when a senior member of the relevant county council put forward the following for serious consideration: "Could you not do some of those community arts projects that involve lots of people and don't cost any money" A bureaucrats perception of participation.

The argument that will be used will be that we need to focus on building audiences for the theatre so that it doesn't have to be so dependent on subsidy so we'll focus available resources on participation to develop public appreciation for the arts, because we need to start having a dialogue with the audience again. Except there are no available resources.

So, a lovely new Abbey, a Film Board, and .....that's about all we can look forward to.