Bigger arts cuts

September 27, 2010 2:58 PM

Yesterday, on the BBC Politics Show on BBC1, I clashed with Tom Trevor, Director of the Arnolfini Gallery in Bristol, over cuts in arts expenditure in the South-West. Trevor argued that a tipping point would be reached if he was expected to cut his budget by 10%-15%. I said this was scare-mongering nonsense and that the world of the arts would carry on very well with even larger cuts. He should belt-tighten along withBath TPA-small everyone else.
 
I was also shocked to see that most of the £1 million of Arts Council taxpayers’ money that the Arnolfini received in 2009, that is £850,203, went on wages for 44 staff. When I buy a painting in a private gallery in Bath, 50% of that goes directly to the artist. Taxpayers would be disappointed to see so little of their money going to the frontline, that is, the artists. As with so much of taxpayers’ money in this country, most of it seems to go into administration.
 
Without doubt the Arnolfini is a great exhibition space, but its exhibits can seem a little remote at times, verging on the pretentious, and if its exhibitions were not free would anyone really go to see them? The Royal Academy in London is a superb model of a great gallery mounting popular, sometimes controversial exhibitions, that people pay to go and see. In Bath, the Victoria Gallery is currently showing an extraordinary exhibition of Don McCullin photographs, which is attracting hundreds of viewers a week.
 
Excerpts from The Politics Show Arnolfini debate will be shown on BBC Points West regional news this week.
 
Tim Newark, Bath Taxpayers’ Alliance   
Yesterday, on the BBC Politics Show on BBC1, I clashed with Tom Trevor, Director of the Arnolfini Gallery in Bristol, over cuts in arts expenditure in the South-West. Trevor argued that a tipping point would be reached if he was expected to cut his budget by 10%-15%. I said this was scare-mongering nonsense and that the world of the arts would carry on very well with even larger cuts. He should belt-tighten along withBath TPA-small everyone else.
 
I was also shocked to see that most of the £1 million of Arts Council taxpayers’ money that the Arnolfini received in 2009, that is £850,203, went on wages for 44 staff. When I buy a painting in a private gallery in Bath, 50% of that goes directly to the artist. Taxpayers would be disappointed to see so little of their money going to the frontline, that is, the artists. As with so much of taxpayers’ money in this country, most of it seems to go into administration.
 
Without doubt the Arnolfini is a great exhibition space, but its exhibits can seem a little remote at times, verging on the pretentious, and if its exhibitions were not free would anyone really go to see them? The Royal Academy in London is a superb model of a great gallery mounting popular, sometimes controversial exhibitions, that people pay to go and see. In Bath, the Victoria Gallery is currently showing an extraordinary exhibition of Don McCullin photographs, which is attracting hundreds of viewers a week.
 
Excerpts from The Politics Show Arnolfini debate will be shown on BBC Points West regional news this week.
 
Tim Newark, Bath Taxpayers’ Alliance   

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