Arts cuts do not mean worse art

BBC News features comments from Philip Booth

Like many parts of life, theatres, galleries and other arts organisations are feeling the squeeze from funding cuts. But how will that affect what we see on stage or on a gallery wall? Is a more commercial outlook such a bad thing? Not necessarily, according to Philip Booth of the free market think-tank the Institute of Economic Affairs.

There is nothing wrong with creating works with wide appeal, he says: "I'm sure you'll get more popular and populist art if it's funded privately, but I don't think you'll necessarily get worse art."

Britain was by no means "a nation of philistines" before the government started funding the arts in 1946, Mr Booth says.

"England's rich cultural tradition developed free of government funding and art had to appeal to the people. In the 16th Century, British theatre developed to much public acclaim precisely because it had to appeal to the public.

"In his day, Shakespeare was commercially successful and popular."

Read the full article here.

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