Public arts funding: towards plan B

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Let’s create the kind of solid public support that makes cuts to the arts politically dangerous or, even better, unthinkable

Zan Chandler‘s insight:

While this is directed at the arts sector, I don’t think the cultural sector in Canada is immune, given the huge amount of government funding it receives.


If Plan A is for the cultural sector to provide better evidence to government of its value and impact, the author suggests a Plan B:


• Create relationships rather than transactions with their communities
• Extend their reach and improve ratings – bums on seats do matter; so does critical and public response to their works
• Make their governance reflect their community
• Be clear about their artistic and civic purposes and shout about them in plain and simple ways
• Not treat public funding as a proxy for public engagement
• Use language that everybody understands instead of advocacy-speak
• Be as creative and innovative in their organisational life as they are, or as they should be, in their artistic endeavours
• Use their spaces as much as possible – public buildings should be used every hour of the day and night
• Collaborate as much as possible, with other local arts organisations, community organisations, public agencies and businesses
• Be financially careful and able to show they give great value for money
• Show they care
• Care


This calls for a shift in focus from funders and intermediaries to audiences. If the audiences of your works care about you as producers and creators and you care about them, I think you are better off than if they don’t even know you exist.


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