To whom it might (or might not) concern,
I’m going to get straight to it; what are you doing to the arts?!
I have so much I want to say on this, but I will keep it brief and to the point (as much as possible)
I understand that savings need to be made somehow, somewhere and that you can’t please everyone… however…
“Phasing out art grants, saving £433,000 by 2020”
Cutting 100% of funding to the arts is a very destructive move. How can you expect the industry to survive a blow that brutal?! That’s not saving, that’s scoring out one of the UK’s most valued industries. Have you considered how much of the economy is supported by companies, individuals, organisations and work that comes from the artists you have decided to cut free?
It is not just about the work you see on the “surface”; the show, the gallery, the concert, the final design, the performance… it is about people’s livelihoods, their identity, their family and their community.
I would argue that, although you appear to be saving £433,000 – the thriving Arts culture in Bath… may not be around to continue to draw tourists to these areas, and support the local community. I suggest that this saving is short-sighted. Yes, you don’t give that money away, but equally you do not get a return on the investment in the culture of your town/city.
If you review the funding you have awarded even just 2016/17 you have stipulated yourselves that the projects will achieve “economic impact in the city” [See here] and – in the case of the Arts at the Heart of the Royal United Hospital, that project will “contribute to staff training and development, activities that enhance the healing environment and contribute to improving therapeutic outcomes.”
For some people, the Arts are a saving grace, they have a significant positive impact on mental health. See this article as just one example: http://www.insideoutcommunity.com/arts-mental-health/the-case-for-arts-and-mental-health/ In your own words, the projects you fund may use “arts activity to promote health and wellbeing.” [See here]
In summary – I fail to see how cutting 100% of the funding to the Arts is a step forward. I believe the Arts are at the heart of our society here in the UK, whether that be in the form of spectacular performances and galleries that attract visitors from all over the globe; or employing hundreds of thousands of people across the country; or workshops/lessons/courses that are solely created to help vulnerable people in our communities – and everything in-between.
Some other views on cuts to the Arts: