I don't understand why almost all coverage, and quotes about the impact of the cuts on the arts, reports on the implications for artists and arts organisations instead of the impact on the public on reductions in their fragile arts provision.
I also don't understand how the Arts Councils in England and it also appears Scotland are prioritising cuts to audience development and engagement at the very time when we need to maximise the relationship with the public as audiences and participants. Sorry, but the Arts Council in England continues to behave as the Artists Council and actually does not properly deliver its chartered objectives.
Jeremy Hunt's talk about emphasising the role of philanthropy in arts funding, while being ludicrous as a quick fix alternative source to Government funding, does have some validity long term, since we do need the public more engaged as champions and fans of the arts. But, "Catch 22", they won't be thinking about donations or persuading their corporate colleagues unless they are more closely engaged.
So can we stop talking about the impact on artists and arts organisations and point out the reductions in provision, access, and public benefit and how the public will be affected. A lot of people really value their theatre,music, dance, visual arts, etc. And we have the kind of in-depth research which Alan Brown is starting to do in the UK after his experience in the US in really identifying the value in their lives to people as individuals of their arts experiences. We need them - the public - to speak for us.
We have got Audiences UK as a body to focus on audiences, and a national network of audience development agencies, so we need to start sooner rather than later on helping the voices of the public be heard. I agree we need joined-up campaigning with all the relevant bodies, but can we make the public central to the future of the arts?
We have all these "Friends" organisations too. What are friends for?