Some Stats for European Arts Funding
newmusicbox October 30, 2007
this post I provide information
about European arts funding – though it is far more than most of you will want
to read (over three quickly written pages.)
I include a lot of documentation from the press.
The articles confirm that Europeans have held arts funding stable, or
have even raised it during the economic downturn caused by the dotcom crash.
I also include quotes that explain why Europeans support public arts
general, there is much more lively discussion and debate in the European press
about arts funding than in the States. The
first clip is from the BBC’s website, May 24, 2004 and is entitle “
LPO had just performed
those who might not know, the orchestras are the London Philharmonic Orchestra,
London Symphony Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Philharmonia, and the
BBC Symphony Orchestra.
article notes that even though the city has five orchestras, the LPO sells about
82% of all tickets for its concerts, and many events are sold out.
(No big need for iPods and Indie Rock influenced concerts there.)
Walker said it would be possible to raise attendance to 90%, but he would be:
that our program was not adventurous enough. If we program in a conservative
way, with great conductors and soloists, we are confident we would sell out the
concert hall. With new, edgier work, and younger artists, the risks are higher.
Orchestras are very fragile organizations. It is always difficult to balance the
commercial and creative aspects of the orchestra."
article stresses that public funding gives the LPO the freedom to find a
reasonable balance between popular and innovative programming.
are some clips from a commentary in the Star
has a nation of 5.2 million people -- a population only slighter greater than
the state of
Star Tribune article continues with a
quote of the director of advanced studies at the
“‘[Music] is so ingrained in our culture; there is never a question about the government putting a lot of money into it. This also makes music very democratic here, not just something for the elite.’"
an article in the Guardian on May 3,
2004, Louise Jury quotes Tessa Jowell,
are waking up to the fact that cities such as
arts are not just ‘a pleasurable hinterland’ for the public to fall back on
after the ‘important things - work and paying tax’ are done, [Jowell] argues
in a 19-page pamphlet.
is at the heart of what it means to be a fully developed human being. Government
should be concerned that so few aspire to it, and has a responsibility to do
what it reasonably can to raise the quantity and quality of that
different such ideals are from the defeatist and misinformed attitudes regarding
public funding in
spending on the arts has doubled since 1997 and scrapping entrance charges to
national museums has boosted attendance by millions, some MPs are still inclined
to lob the elitism charge at expenditure on opera or orchestras. Arts leaders
have felt despair that the Prime Minister has seemed so unwilling to be seen in
their museums and theatres. But they will be encouraged that Ms. Jowell says
‘intelligent public subsidy’ is vital if the arts are to take their place at
the heart of national life. Audiences will be developed only through
‘determined policy initiatives,’ she says.”
article in the rather conservative Bloomberg
News, dated February 2, 2004 mentions that the cultural budget in
Bloomberg article also notes that:
European countries, museums fare best in
per capita French budget is thus about 80 times the NEA budget.
Imagine if one percent of our national budget went to the arts.
That would be 24 billion dollars for fiscal year 2007.
That’s 172 times higher than the current NEA budget.
Europeans remain deeply wary of corporate sponsorship of the arts.
Bloomberg News has written some interesting articles about these
problems, but I won’t quote them here. The Guardian
also addresses this problem in an article by Peter Kennard entitled “Hung
out to dry by the sponsors: Art's corporate backers decide what we can
see in public spaces”, published December 30, 2003.
This isn’t to say that the Europeans don’t keep an eye on the American scene. In an article from the Deutsche Welle website on February 2, 2005, Gerald Mertens, the director of the German Orchestra Union, noted that, “Orchestras in competitive markets such as
only we had this modesty and open-mindedness in our relations with the world.
In the meantime, don’t listen to the rather widespread American
propaganda demonizing public arts funding. The
neo-con political agenda of such misinformation is relatively transparent, and
such views have plagues our society for decades. We
should not despair. Just like the
Europeans, with “determined policy initiatives” we can greatly increase our
public support for the arts.
me for this long scribbled post. I
wrote most of the info quickly last summer, and never shaped it into a more
organized form. And thanks, Yotam,
for addressing the issue.