The widening gulf between rich and poor is manifesting itself clearly in the arts, says Susan Jones.
The ‘golden age’ of arts funding has given way to debilitating austerity, felt particularly by artists who find themselves at the end of a long food chain, divorced from arts policy and funding decision making. But when did these divisions start and how can artists’ activism create a sea change for the future?
The millennium saw arts funding increased through imaginative strategies and policies. Artists and the artist-led flourished. With the Lottery-financed arts buildings came the new wave of curatorial positions – and in 2006, the advent of cultural leadership roles designed to ‘nurture and develop dynamic and diverse leaders to equip them for the challenges of the 21st Century’. (Although scant few of these went to practitioners.) Divisions between artists and the public were apparent too.