The Power to Transform People's Lives [added 19/2/03]
Following re-structuring the Arts Council England has produced a manifesto for 2003-2006 under the banner that "the arts have the power to transform lives, communities and opportunities for people throughout the country". Most significantly over £25 million for the period 2003-2006 is earmarked for supporting individual artists(this compares with £4.5 million for the year 2002/3).
VAGA welcomes the energy, resources and ambitions that are promised and urges the Government to look long and hard at the arts and what they offer. The detrimental effect of student top up fees on the future generation of creative practitioners - the purveyors of our cultural, imaginative and creative capital - is one issue that must be addressed, as must the provision of affordable and practical workspace for artists.
An additional £70 million is earmarked to go to regularly funded organisations that produce and provide access to the work of artists. The Creative Partnerships programme, which focuses on integrating the arts and creative practice within mainstream school education, will increase from 16 to 32 regions by 2005/6. Culturally diverse art will also be a priority for funding and development, in recognition of the true makeup of contemporary society and the unique space that art provides to explore and celebrate difference and reflect cultural identity.
VAGA's own key priorities include support for contemporary collections in that they provide all important firsthand access to the work and ideas of today's artists - charting and commenting on contemporary life as well as providing the heritage of tomorrow. The Government must also make a commitment to policies that put art, creativity and imagination at the heart of formal education, including adequate initial training and continuing professional development for teachers in the arts.
For further details visit the Arts Council England website.