Covid 19 has led to a re-emergence of the debate about the role and importance of art and culture. On the surface of it, this has been proved with generous investment from Central Government with the £1.57 billion Cultural Recovery Fund.
Yet this money has not been spent. And some fear that the damage to the sector has already been done by years of local and national disregard for the sector.
The argument about how culture and art should be funded has been going on since the time of Medici. It crudely comes down to how much money should artists be given from the public purse.
So what does the Cultural Recovery Fund say about the future of art? Is it the last big hurrah before something so often seen as ‘nice to have’ gets chopped again or is it the recognition that as one of the fastest growing industries in the UK, investment in the arts is actually smart.
So what next for the arts? After a generation of talking about its importance to the social fabric of modern society does it need to pivot to talk about its impact on business?
Do culture and the arts need to work harder to justify their investment, or are we still underplaying their importance?