Cuts campaign has its Arts about face

September 13, 2010 in News

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Bloghorn was greatly amused by the recent launch of a campaign to save the arts from the forthcoming cuts in UK public spending.

But we find it deeply ironic that Arts Council England – which has organised the Save the Arts campaign via its Turning Point Network – is choosing to launch it with a piece of cartoon animation.

If the Arts Council hadn’t spent years refusing to help the activities of organisations representing the business of cartooning, we might even take the campaign seriously.

But it has consistently refused to help fund the national Cartoon Museum and many other events and activities run by professional organisations representing our trade and its artform.

If the Arts Council finds that it is now looking at doing its work with minimal funds we can only say this: Welcome to our world.

Bloghorn’s sponsor, The Professional Cartoonists’ Organisation and our sister group, The British Cartoonists’ Association, represent the best living practitioners of the vulgar commerce of drawing.

We both, more than most, appreciate the irony of the elite national arts organisation stooping to the healthy filth of the cartoon when it needs a spot of urgent, eye-catching communication.

We just wish its present interest in cartoons wasn’t so blatantly short-term and desperate.

We might even have been able to help with the campaign – if only the Arts Council had deigned to help us.

It wouldn’t be before time.

Bloghorn says if you have views on this issue please add them in our comments section below. We do moderate comments.

6 responses to Cuts campaign has its Arts about face

  1. We could still help with the campaign, but that would mean actually being asked to do so – something which would mean that certain anti – cartoon factions within the Arts Council would have to cave in and face reality. The AC has proved many times that in some areas of Art, it does know what its doing. But as far as cartooning’s concerned seems unable to accept that art form’s popularity with the public generally. I firmly believe that the AC has a real problem with humour. Rude Britannia is a case in point. It excluded many of our funniest cartoonists. Official commentary chose the dullest of roads – that leading to “explaining ” humour. It reminded me of “doing” a book for school examinations, which usually resulted in never reading that book again. The Arts Council badly needs to acquire a sense of humour. If the AC ever mounted a live exhibition of stand – up comics, it would provide an explanation of every joke.

  2. However… we are not the only art form, so even though I totally agree with the views above I still signed the petition because I love the Arts in it’s many different many different forms. I hope this doesn’t stop others from doing the same.

  3. I think it’s great that the arts council cartels are squirming. Great! I think of it like the French Revolution for the eliteist arts aristocracy. Off with their heads! More power to the people!

  4. Yawn, Paul, very droll, if only it were true that the funding cuts were designed to make the elites shudder. They are designed to do the very opposite. Like it or lump it, the arts are something that more people in this country watch or participate in than any other. We are also something we are rather good at and (incidentally) of great economic value ‘as ane fule kno’. The fiction that they are eliteist
    is an oft repeated canard but one that needs challenging. I heartily recommend the words of Pastor Neimoller to you.

  5. Do tell

  6. Wait ! Do you mean the “First they came etc. ” poem, Iain ? Whatever. Whether the Arts Council IS an elite or not, that’s a commonly held perception. And I must admit that my opinion is influenced by the AC’s apparent inability to either understand or cherish good UK cartooning. Even when it does try, it cannot do so without tiresome academic explanations of WHY things are funny. Or it colludes with the Hayward gallery and at great expense mounts an exhibition of deeply unfunny cartoons by “serious” artists. As opposed to artists who make people laugh. The show was roundly disliked. Which wasn’t really fair on the non – cartoonists who contributed.The UK needs the Arts Council. But it needs the Arts Council to laugh first, analyse second. Which is a big ask.

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