8 07 2012

Artists have always had to seek funding for what they do. If it is the production of paintings it is collectors, patrons and benefactors the same as it ever has been. The recent cuts in funding of the public sector have devastated the growth in socially engaged practice across the field. Why has this been so dramatic? Because the arts and artists have been employed to find ways of supporting other services deliver their objectives. Primarily this is because the disciplines learned in the visual fine arts are transferable with deep mapping skills. You need deep mapping skills if you are to learn about contexts, cultural, inclusion, individual experiences or communities and common and shared contexts. For the last 20 years or so the arts sector grew supported by the Arts Council and Lottery Funding. This growth went hand in hand with ‘Inclusion’ policies, ‘Every Child Matters’ and a raft of social improvement policy supported by the labour party. When the crunch came, it was because of over estimated growth, over reach and optimistic gambleing.

But underlying the issues were the abiding issues of poverty of spirit, poverty of aspiration and poverty of trust. Each one is as a cultural trend increasing and coming to the surface. For the first time in 34 years I am applying in my own right as an artist to the Arts Council England Grants for the arts programme. Previously I have applied through organisations or been selected to deliver as a lead artist or project managed having conceived the idea, planned, designed and delivered the projects or programme of projects.

Historically the arts have been supported by ”The Church’ by ‘The Merchant Class’ by ‘Royalty and Landed Gentry’ by ‘Industrialists’ by ‘Corporations’ and by the ‘State’  The outcomes of my art work have been social outcomes for 34 years. Definitely not commercial or for profit or to benefit my own ego. I still hold to the values of wanting to make a difference in the world to creating a better place for all, for my work to to be of social benefit and of  striving towards wellbeing and to serve the public good.

In this climate I will be interested to see how my application is received and if successful hope to engage further with an online audience. We shall see?



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