You’ve heard the argument for arts funding in a number of different forms. Here’s Kevin Spacey, the artistic director of the Old Vic theater which doesn’t receive government support, defending the arts in The Times of London:
I believe that, far from being luxury items, arts and culture are a necessity in our lives, as individuals and as nations. Culture is the strongest ambassador of the human condition we exchange around the world. Countries may go to war but it is culture that unites us. The arts inspire, uplift, challenge, stimulate our conversations, drive our debates and remain in our memories.
For those still unconvinced there is an equally powerful economic argument. Our cultural life contributes to the financial health of communities across the nation. Cultural centres create jobs and generate income for the hotels, restaurants and countless other businesses in the areas where they operate. I, for one, do not want to see another regeneration plan that does not have arts and culture at its heart. Without them we are not building rounded communities, but ignoring the fabric and soul of society. [ . . . ]
I don’t hear anyone demanding special treatment for the arts above other important and vital public services, but it is an important debate. This isn’t about showbusiness and it isn’t a trivial argument. This recession is claiming many victims and the arts are under threat. That’s why so many of us feel the need to shout about the value that cultural programmes bring to millions of people across the UK, as well as the economic impact of the creative industries throughout the world.
I Won’t Apologise for Defending the Arts (Times of London)