I am here. How can I help?

In a world of cuts it is hard to feel validation in your process as an artist. It is hard to feel that you are contributing to the world in a way that people feel is visible. Who can argue the power of the arts if it is being whittled away? First came the cuts to the big established companies, then the cuts to the companies in their middle years. Then came the cuts to emerging work. Now there are cuts in the education system, social security and to our beloved institution -the NHS. A phrase often mention is you can judge a society by which it treats its weakest members. The sick, the poor, the jobless, the prisoners are some examples of who the previous sentence encapsulates. But this could also be the group of people who don’t fit into the model of education that is currently available in this country. While many show academic qualities in their character, how many people really benefit from our current education system?

And now for the Arts. Creativity is a source of wonder. Its not that the world necessarily needs more artists or writers or performers (or maybe it does?). Practicing creativity is an opportunity  to explore personal boundaries, confidence, the act of creating. You can make friends, build community and improve team work.  How is creativity really being made accessible. It is being withdrawn from education both at primary and secondary level. Theatre tickets are sky high. Many people are overstretched and over worked to feel like they have space to go to a class or a choir.

Artists themselves are increasingly finding it difficult to create work in this climate. We have to review the way that we do things. We have to see this as an opportunity to shift direction and reflect on what we are being presented with. We can’t stay in our studios or our studies or our theatres and ask people to come to us. We need to go out to the communities that surround us and show people the restorative power of creativity.

37% of voters in the UK voted for the winning party at the last election. A party that sees the arts as unimportant or irrelevant to the people it serves. Art can make sense of things in a way that politics or religion cannot. There are no taboo subjects, an artist is free to discuss the issues that arise around them. There is no agenda. How much of the population really believe that the arts is not important? 66% of the voting population turned up to vote (http://www.parliament.uk/about/living-heritage/transformingsociety/electionsvoting/chartists/contemporarycontext/electionturnout/) . Only 37% of those voters, voted for a government that has being unbelievably vicious to the Arts, Health care and Education. This is a plea to say do not be disheartened by politicians and press. You know the value of creativity. Do not let it be undermined. Please keep sharing your work with the world and inviting your community into your process.

graph2
Predicted VS Actual % Vote Share from Sheffield University

So pick up your pen or your brush, your needle or your music and find the people who want to make stuff happen. Share your knowledge with those around you. Take a step out into the community, your community and show them why the Arts matter. If we do not engage the public in creativity, then we as artists are letting down our communities and giving in too easily. If a doctor stopped attending to patients because he felt people didn’t value his care then we would be utterly disgruntled and upset with this behaviour. If we stop creating art, then no one is going to see the point in it, because no art is being created!

Times are tough, pockets can feel threadbare, but find a way to make your work and share it. The world needs us. Start with I am here. How can I help?

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