Local funding priorities

I do appreciate that you can’t spend the roads budget on housing or the housing budget on leisure.

The question I’m really asking is why there is any money at all being allocated to arts when the arts can basically take care of themselves. Without state support people will always sing, play musical instruments, dance, write poetry, paint pictures and tell stories. Of course some things cannot be done without state or wealthy benefactor support, like opera and ballet, maybe they can do cheaper productions.

But I basically think that government, both national and local should take care of the essentials, and that is not happening. I’m sure everyone has their own examples of when they could reasonable expect a service to be there but they discover it isn’t. A couple of years ago I was badly ripped-off, and it’s still not resolved. I was not happy to discover that Lewisham has no public-facing Trading Standards Service. I was referred to Citizens Advice. CAB do an OK job, but they do not have powers to issue Notices, investigate, or prosecute.

The state is falling apart and then I’m told that money is being allocated to an indoor beach.


I really don’t think arts can look after themselves. They’re the first to get cuts.


The arts in places without state subsidies always stay alive

I just wrote a huge ranting response to this and deleted it because it’s late and I would perhaps have regretted it in the morning. And this is meant to be about the crossing. And yet.

The arts and arts education are under-funded because people/governments assume exactly this: that performers and creators will always just perform and create just for the love of it. Complacency about the arts is exactly why they’re at risk. And if the creators and performers of tomorrow continue to see hard evidence that their skill and vast contribution to our cultural landscape are consistently undervalued and under appreciated, they’ll either take their talents and skills elsewhere (the UK’s loss) or they’ll never take them any further than a song in a shower or a story round a campfire (everyone’s loss).

Ugh, goodnight :joy:


Surely if artists in any medium created something that people wanted to see or hear or experience then they would pay for it, if not they won’t. What’s the point of art that nobody, or at least, very few people want? And why should the taxpayer pay for it?


Marketing costs money. People can’t pay to attend a show they don’t know about…

And if we’re going down the “why should the taxpayer pay for it” route, my taxes pay for a whole load of services I don’t use, but I don’t begrudge paying them because I know they make society and life a little better and easier for everyone.


In good times I might agree with you but as the Council don’t have enough money to properly fund vital services like waste & recycling collections, safe pedestrian crossings, local charities and many more I think the arts should be way down the list of priorities.
If artists need money to market their project then it doesn’t cost anything to set up a Gofundme page and if it’s attractive or worthwhile people will donate.


I think to be fair to Lewisham, this isn’t locally funded (and therefore funds aren’t being diverted from essential services), this is a GLA pot of money which boroughs are invited to bid for.


They will. many ‘poor’ countries where the arts are not state-funded have culture that is far from impoverished.

Have the arts been improved by the establishment of funding regimes? Not sure about that. There was music, opera, ballet, and writing before the Arts Council existed.

Has American jazz been improved by the fact that some of today’s well-known musicians studied jazz at colleges? Not sure.

What is certain is that no-one will be an environmental health officer or trading standards officer on a voluntary basis.

This is mainly the way it happens. Call it community support.

We’re not. I too am happy to pay for all the essentials that maintain civic society. But some essentials are fast-disappearing, which will never happen to the arts.

Yes I know. Different budgets, different bits of the governance of London. What I am asking is if these hermetically sealed organs of government can get out of their isolated bubbles and discuss whether care home staff, environmental health officers, social workers, community police officers might be more urgently needed than an indoor beach?

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Somewhat narrow minded no? The arts fund isn’t for established “artists”. It’s mostly about education and getting the next generation of creatives wether that’s film, music or traditional artists. It’s about not making it elitist and letting kids from lower incomes get access to equipment and training. Creative industries directly and indirectly bring in billions to the economy, just like any other industry which pay for those council services.


It’s a bit more than that isn’t it. An international award winning performance/artwork at the Albany. I am delighted it is coming to Lewisham and will be keen to see it.

Without subsidy from Arts Council and local authority there could be no Albany theatre in Deptford. Typically a social enterprise venue like this needs money to cover core costs, raises a good proportion of its needs through ticket sales and along with so many other venues, in the process creates huge cultural wealth for London.

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I would have preferred something from local artists. Something new and original. That piece has been all over the place (possibly building up a big carbon footprint in its travels). Nor is Breathe new. What next? Yet more rusting metal production line figures and copycat wall stencils?

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I would say this particular exhibit is more about raising the profile of the Albany as an arts venue within Lewisham / London which can only be a good thing IMO. I do agree however that participation of local artists is paramount - something Lewisham have recognised through their Creative Change Fund - giving grants of up to £1,000 or £5,000 to community organisations or schools from across the borough who are interested in pairing with local artists.

It should be an exciting year for culture and arts within Lewisham next year! :heart_eyes:

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Do you think anything uplifting or perhaps entertaining will be produced from the Creative Change Fund or will the whole £1.35mil Mayor of London grant be spent on doom and gloom like the indoor beach and Breathe?
Maybe I’m just old fashioned but I like to leave a cinema or theatre or music venue or art gallery with a smile on my face; I can watch the BBC News if want some doom-mongering.


It would be good to see something a bit more joyful and uplifting. In past times of crises and doom and gloom, positive, often escapist, stories are what audiences wanted and what proved popular.

Of course here may be something joyful and fun hidden away in the schedules, but clearly they’re not the headline acts.

But then I don’t think this initiative is about the audience.

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All depends on individual taste I suppose, but it looks as though there are very diverse elements to the year and every opportunity for creative talent to flourish even if you don’t fancy the events noted above.

Well, I’ve read the attachment to your post and it seems that in addition to the 2 previously cited cheery items we’ve also got a “Revolution Through Music” and a bit of modern slavery to look forward to.
I can’t make up my mind whether I’m glad this isn’t to my taste or I’m sad this is what they waste my tax money on is my predominant emotion.

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Revolution Through Music:
From the UK’s most influential sound systems to Rock Against Racism and the development of lover’s rock, dub, reggae and salsa, Revolution Through Music will celebrate the grassroots musical culture that has sprung from the borough, changing the cultural face of London.

…I mean, I think that sounds amazing, personally. Bring it on.


Sounds uplifting and entertaining to me. Since you are clearly not a fan of Lewishams approach I wonder what art/ culture would you like the year of culture fund to be spent on? Bear in mind that Lewisham competed fir the fund , it is Mayor of London money and must be spent on a year of culture in the Borough.

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As I implied in an earlier post I would like events that are designed to be entertaining, celebratory and uplifting, humorous maybe, perhaps even joyful and completely apolitical to be included not just the lecturing and hectoring events that appear to have been announced so far.

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