Audience development and arts funding

While scanning articles about the arts and audience development, I had a rude awakening:

Arts groups ‘must prove they’re worth funding’

But he said that individual arts organisations needed to demonstrate they were worth the funding they receive from the public purse.

“The arts are not going to put bread in people’s mouths but they can make a difference,” he said.

Excuse me, but the arts do put bread in people’s mouths, and the arts also ensure a creative population, boost local economies (double to input in most reports), help make education more accessible to our children,  add to our health and well being, provide an outlet for human expression, and make life worth living.  The reports are all there to be read and digested.  Why are people still saying the arts have to prove themselves?

Geez!  What do the arts have to do?  Go on strike to prove their worth?  Can you even imagine a world without the arts?  I dare you.  No seriously, I want you to think about going about your average day and make a mental note about how much the arts contribute to your daily life.  Here are a few examples:
  • Television and movie entertainment – there wouldn’t be anything to entertain us.  No music, no actors, no dancers, no filmmakers…
  • Marketing – imagine marketing without the arts.  No creative ads, no music, no actors, no dancers, no artists, no copywriters, no photographers
  • Events – most events add the arts to, well,  make it an event – no musicians, no actors, no storytellers, no clowns, no magicians, no photographers to capture and document…
  • School – the arts contribute to higher retention rates and make learning more fun and accessible, plus the arts help generate the creative thinkers of tomorrow – no artists, no creative thinkers, less kids staying in school, less creative teachers,  no textbooks with photos, learning becomes more of a chore…
  • Activities for kids and adults – no art classes, no photography classes, no dance, no theater, no creative arts camps, no books (since no authors), no lectures (except non-creative ones), no music concerts, no museums, no galleries…what will we do with all of our time?
  • Products – the products in our lives will becoming boring – no creative production or design, no artists, no music…
  • Inventions – there would be no new inventions without creative thinkers, a quality that arts education supplies

I could go on and on.  Think about the design for a  blog.  Think about any type of design in our lives.  Think about the song on the radio. Think about the inventions in our lives.  Think about creative scientific discoveries. Look around you.  The arts are all around us, supporting us in our daily lives, adding quality to our daily lives, and making our lives more rich and vibrant, more worth living.

And people are saying that the arts have to prove that they are worth funding?  Ridiculous! Ludicrous!  The next time a politician has a rally or event, try having one without music and creative speech writers!

I know that one of the main challenges for audience development is proving that the arts are worth funding and attending.  Politicians and other government officials that keep spewing this nonsense against the arts are no big help.  If we do not fund the arts, our lives will become extremely dismal.  Arts organizations are a part of our community and cutting off this part of the community is going to be detrimental to the rest of the community.  Period.

By the way, I have a job that I love because of the arts, and the arts employs a fair percentage of people.  Most industries rely on the arts to make their products sell.  Firsthand proof that the arts do put bread in our mouths!

Cheers to happy and loyal audiences,


Shoshana Fanizza
Audience Development Specialists
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“Never treat your audience as customers, always as partners.”
~James Stewart

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1 Comment

Filed under arts advocacy, Audience Development

One response to “Audience development and arts funding

  1. Pingback: Audience development & arts advocacy for arts funding | Audience Development Specialists Blog!

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