I’m a little late to the ‘Rebalancing our Cultural Capital’ debate. A couple of weeks grounded by temporary illness certainly focuses the mind on questions of travel and access to culture.
To Maria Miller I would say that, yes, regional audiences should and do want to experience the best art in the country through regional touring by the nationals. Regular engagement with ambitious work from throughout the UK and beyond keeps art refreshed, challenged and stimulated everywhere. And, by the way, these important partnerships cost regional organisations too.
But regional artists and arts organisations equally want a fair chance to create the best art in the country. Not to do their own parochial thing, but be critically engaged, to work with the best regional, national and international artists and companies, to bring outstanding work to the national stage. Regional artists and organisations want a fair chance to be the best in the country.
Powerful art is rooted in experience, diversity and dialogue. Experience is unique, nuanced and complex, shaped by geographic, cultural and economic context. This is what keeps art as a conversation so rich, so alive, so necessary.
There is little that is artistically inherent in London that enables it to create the most compelling and exciting art.
While Arts Council England and philanthropists invest, local authorities, in most cases, cut. London’s monopoly is on finance, not talent. The preponderance of the best organisations in London is a product of the UK’s economic distribution, not the distribution of its artistic talent. And art is the poorer for it.