The Olympics funding vs the Arts funding

Following on from the current Olympic based theme of my first entry; I was watching David Cameron talking on some morning TV show a few weeks ago about the importance (he now feels? Not sure what his position was before…) of Sport and how the Government are going to continue to put more funding in to sports. This in turn made me realise what a shame it is that the arts* industry isn’t deemed to be as important as the sports industry by those in power. **

 I genuinely think it’s a good thing that funding is being put towards sports (get the computing playstation obsessed generation off of their ever expanding arses) but not everyone can be an Olympian or good at sports and not everyone gets the same benefit from sports either. So what about all of those non sporting people? What about the all the actors, dancers, directors, production crew, artists, musicians, stage managers, designers, photographers etc etc etc already working in a neglected industry, what about their investment?

 The Prime Minister, David Cameron, said: “The motto of these Games has been “inspire a generation”. Nothing has been more inspirational than seeing our elite athletes win gold this summer. There’s a direct link between elite success and participation in sport. I want one of the legacies of these Games to be our athletes triumphing in Rio in 2016, and in future Olympic Games. Guaranteeing this funding will help ensure that happens.”

Chris Hoy in the same article comments “I am old enough to remember a time when things were run on a shoestring budget before National Lottery and Government investment transformed British Olympic sport.”***

Isn’t this what we are experiencing currently in the Arts? Shoestring budgets, if we are lucky to have a budget at all. But unfortunately we don’t have an Arts Olympic event to help showcase the talent and inspire not only a generation but the politicians and funding officials.

Surely the opening and closing ceremonies of the games showed that the arts are important? Even if we were to ignore all the other uses the arts can have and focused on it only for entertainment purposes. Would the ceremonies have been deemed as spectacular, if…a programme of sports or scientific based imagery have been used? Well quite frankly no. There would have been no music, no set, no costume….you get my point. Therefore surely the Opening and Closing ceremonies in themselves highlight the importance of the arts within our culture?

 Not to mention all of the benefits of drama therapy, art therapy, music therapy? All of these are helpful to people and allow people, in one way shape or form the opportunity to learn, develop and help and heal people. People that maybe can’t or don’t get that help or expression through other means.

An actor reciting Hamlet’s ‘To be or not to’ soliloquy in 9.63seconds (Bolts 100m time this year) would mean absolutely nothing as a piece of quantitative data because it doesn’t matter how quickly or slowly you speak the text what matters is how you say it -the meaning and intention behind it – the quality of the speech. Yet sport can to some extend be put into boxes – weight, times, distances can be measured. What can you measure in the arts?

I think it’s wonderful that sports are being given the opportunities to continue to showcase their talents and abilities and indeed inspire numerous generations but I can’t help but feel let down that we artists are left constantly fighting an uphill battle purely because it seems that because the arts can’t be controlled or quantified, this scares the politicians, because if you can’t control something, how do get it to conform?

…by making it out to be unimportant, then maybe it just might disappear or step into line? Maybe.

But knowing us artists, unlikely.

I do genuinely enjoy sports – watching and playing (some) and the Olympics has indeed inspired me (and in turn helped me sprain my ankle). I guess the point I’m trying to make is that one discipline/industry shouldn’t be favoured over another. Everything has a helpful and beneficial place in the world, not everyone will have the same interests so therefore surely there should be options for people to discover and develop interests and talents where they feel they are best placed? But how can people do that when some of the options are being neglected? Why can’t they run (no pun intended) side by side? I myself am interested in sports and I have quite a few friends whose primary focus is the arts but who also enjoy sports and sports related activities as hobbies or further interests. We, the artists, see the benefit of having well rounded interests and activities in our life’s – so why can’t those in power?


*the term arts I have used as a generic sweeping term of all creative, non sports led industries.

 **I haven’t done enough research to give a statistically sound review on my ‘findings’ nor did I want to write a 10,000 word essay on this, the intention is to be thought provoking

***Quote taken from article

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