Meanwhile, there are initiatives that have spring up to defend the arts, to spread awareness among people about the need to support art education and outreach programmes, to demystify a popular right-wing rant that the arts are nothing but a drain on tax-payers' money.
This video on False Economy, for instance: http://vimeo.com/21480990 which explains simple facts about public debt and debt management.
The website Lost Arts which fellow-blogger Swarup B.R. on One for the Road shared with me. Lost Arts catalogues "all the projects, events, initiatives, performances and organisations" lost to the UK due to reduced funding between now and 2015. It makes for a chilling read.
My personal favourite is this ludic and convincing film made by David Shrigley for Save the Arts. I love the way David Shrigley uses the familiar and identifiable device of a parent-child conversation and a working day environment to explain some lamentably hidden aspects of the benefits of art - in terms that someone who is not in the field nor directly affected can connect to. In terms that would make sense to an accountant, or a finance ministry official (I am deploying caricatures this time!)
Save the Arts is a campaign launched by Turning Point, a consortium of more than 2000 arts organisations and artists from all over the UK. They are encouraging people to sign a petition to be sent to the British Culture Secretary, Jeremy Hunt. The petition points out "it has taken 50 years to create a vibrant arts culture in Britain that is the envy of the world and appeals to the government not to slash arts funding and risk destroying this long-term achievement and the social and economic benefits it brings to all."
And some images which are worth a few thousand words:
The Angel of the North - as a symbol of arts tomorrow (Cornelia Parker)
Mark Wallinger's Reckless
Hmmmm, I need to see what is happening in France. I've been in and out of the country for too long!