Jason OMahony - Irish political blogger, Irish politics, EU politics

Despite their protestations, the arts lobby have their fingers in the greasy till like the rest of us.

Posted by Jason O on Aug 13, 2009 in Irish Politics |

A national institution. So is the social welfare budget.

A national institution. So is the social welfare budget.

Colm Toibin has said that An Bord Snip knows “the price of everything and the value of nothing.” I love the way the arts lobby always pretend that other people’s concern about money is slightly vulgar and beneath them and yet fight like rats with PMT in a bag for the same cold hard cash as the rest of us.

The fact is, their snout is in the same national trough as the other 4.2 million of us. They’re as entitled to fight their corner as anyone else, but please, less of the attitude.  We are all taking cuts and we are all hurting, and the arts lobby have to take their fiscal cod liver oil too.    

1 Comment

Pastel O'Shea
Aug 13, 2009 at 9:35 am

Fair comment about the arts (anagram for rats!) and money. I think it’s good for the state to fund the arts but arts promoters need to become sensitive to the market. The Arts Council claims that the arts industry employs up to 50,000 people (I suppose that includes CE workers?) and this is an impressive number. Remember what sustains industry: enterpreneurial flair and flexibility; imaginative marketing and sourcing of funds; knowing what the customers want; introduction of new lines to replace low selling items in a flagging market; continuing market research. Theatres and arts centres have space that is partly used between day and night. How can space be made available temporarily to non-arts groups in order to increase turnover? What themes and art forms might bring in extra visitors to the art galleries? A lot of so-called conceptual art, installations and suchlike takes up space and leaves the general public bemused and skeptical about visual art. Can artists, actors and theatre directors be helped to spend more time visiting schools, community centres and factory canteens to give performances, demonstrations, workshops and illustrated talks? Can musical groups, including jazz quartets and classical ensembles, be sent around to factories, schools, parish halls and other non-traditional venues in order to entertain new audiences with their skills? Times are financially tough and it is time for arts people to stop moving around in their own magic circles and start communicating with a broader public out here.



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