The Arts Council is giving you £200,000 to get people to sit on their backsides to listen to music and watch ballet (News, 30 November). Provincial firms may get a look in but I doubt it.
The director general of the London-based PRCA states it 'is a sensible investment to make the best use of the ... entertainment and education on our doorstep'. 'Entertainment' implies superficial and 'education' could seem patronising.
The Arts Council, funded by the Lottery (or nationwide contributions from a C2DE demographic) or taxes of ordinary working people (rather than the usual tax-avoiding/evading patrons of opera and ballet), once more favours the performing arts - not the visual arts. The approach reinforces the bias of coverage of music, dance and drama in the media.
I am not advocating money spent on visiting art exhibitions (though this does involve actually moving around galleries) but encouraging people to observe and be stimulated by the shape, form, colour and tones of a real world outside the confines of a theatre and even actively to paint, draw, film or photograph.
After all we have a number of senses - hopefully the Arts Council will come to its own.
- Chris Francis, president, United Society of Artists.