I recently attended an X-Trax Street Arts Networking Event in Manchester. A point was raised by one of the people there in response to a newspaper article that was suggesting that attempts to make the arts appeal to the masses were failing. The article justified this position by looking at the audience numbers and demographics for traditionally elitist art forms such as Ballet and Opera.
Unfortunately I have been unable to locate the article in question. It was suggested by people at the meeting that we, as street arts professionals, should be doing more to highlight our success in reaching huge numbers of ordinary people. It was also suggested that we should try and counteract the possible dearth of work and funding next year, (in the wake of the olympics) by blowing our own trumpets. We should try and highlight all of the good work that we have done this year with the cultural olympiad money.
While searching for the article in question, I found another article which questions whether arts professionals are using the right approach to advocate the arts or whether they just come across as elitist and “luvvy”. It also raises the issue of whether Equity’s approach of concentrating on the economic benefits of the arts is missing the point. A lot of art that is truly in touch with ordinary people in the community is not about making a profit, but about wellbeing and quality of life; but are the government interested in that? CLICK HERE FOR THE ARTICLE.
While I was perusing this article I saw an interview with Liz Pugh from Walk the Plank in a “culture professionals network” sidebar which seems to be doing exactly what was advocated at the meeting. CLICK HERE FOR LIZ’S ARTICLE
If you are an arts professional, or anyone who values the arts and are concerned about the lack of artistic subjects in the new EBacc, there is a petition and other resources for campaigning on the “Bacc For The Future” website. CLICK HERE FOR WEBSITE
On a different subject, we have peformed our Hansel & Gretel Toy Theatre show for the locals at Low Bentham Victoria Institute. Everyone who attended really enjoyed it with 2 children who came back to see it a second time! A big thankyou to everyone who came to support us.
Our next appearance is also a local one. Our popular Shadow Puppet Suitcase show “Edward Lear’s Nonsense” will be seen in High Bentham for the first time at Santa’s Late Night Shopping Evening from 6pm on Friday the 7th of December. There are lots of other exciting things going on, particularly for children. CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO. I will have more specific details of where in the town centre I’ll be performing soon, so watch this space!
We’ll also be taking the Hansel & Gretel show to a birthday party and to a Pupil Referral Unit (where they’ll also be making their own shoe-box toy theatres). And, in what I expect will be it’s last outing of the year, our “Alice in Wonderland” show is giving a North Yorkshire Primary School a Christmas treat.
As a little topic for thought and discussion. Please leave your comments on the question “What is the best way to demonstrate the value of the arts?” If you have comments on anything else in this post please feel free to stray from the question. 🙂