Sunday, April 03, 2011
The luvvies are banging on about inclusiveness and yet they are running the more exclusive club in the world. You can be an artist in the UK only if you have been through the right training and live in the right places (specifically London or Brighton) and know the right people.
I've probably mentioned this before but it appears that if you haven't been through the correct processes you can't be creative. Not in the slightest. Or not officially anymore.
All this explains why someone like the English National Opera gets 18 million quid this year. On their website they boast that "37,000 saw a contemporary opera in 2009/10". 37,000 is less than twice the crowd that went to see the Warley show at the NEC the same year. And how much subsidy does the Warley club get for this ? Roughly £0. In fact they have to hire the venue and pay all the bills.
So which is more inclusive ?
My suggestion would be that some of this lovely arts cash should be going to promote the idea that everyone can be a little bit creative. Head over to Europe and you find events that use exhibition halls the size of the entire NEC and see 100,000 through the door in the three day period. That's nearly three times the ENO audience and more importantly, these are people who are active participants in their interest. I doubt many opera goers head home and start singing - no, for them it is (like football) a passive activity where they are merely audience.
We live in a time of recession, some might say economic slump, and yet there are things people can do to lift the gloom. It seems that the main thing they are allowed to do is sit and consume television. How much better life would be if the world was full of people in sheds making stuff. OK, it might be rubbish but then for every prima ballerina there are a hundred wannabies, but it doesn't matter. The very act of taking something and creating is IMHO A Good Thing. Sometimes people will even make something useful.
Yet if there is support, it's a very controlled version. You can go and try painting or weaving or pottery but you have to be told how to do so by someone qualified. A "proper" person. And you are then lead to believe that you can oly carry on with the "correct" materials and in the "correct" sort of place. In fact, to be honest, you probably shouldn't. Leave it to the experts. I mean it's not like we had any great artists who painted straight on to old boards did we ?
So how do we make art inclusive instead of exclusive ?
How do we wreast creativity from those who want to keep it for themselves ?
Can ordinary people break into the caball of arty types ?