Arts Belong To Politicians As Well

Thinking Why Arts Belong to Politicians

Do Arts really belong to politicians? Amsterdam alderman Carolien Gehrels wants the influence of politics on art to increase. She argues for a new way of granting subsidies, with an eye for the social significance of art institutions. Parenting? ‘Gehrels takes art very seriously.’

During the third Boekman lecture, Friday, the alderman underlined her ambitions, which will be discussed in the city council on 16 June. Gehrels advocates a new system for allocating subsidies, whereby the city council may set clearer social requirements. This ‘broad and firm direction’ by politics is desperately needed, according to Gehrels, because art is too important to leave the domain of politics.

In order to give more substance to the debate about the distribution of municipal subsidies, Gehrels wants to appoint four ‘chimneys’ to take over part of the advisory work of the Amsterdam Art Council.

Guarding,” judges Jan Riezenkamp chairman of the Kunstraad, who will issue an official response tomorrow. The more you release art, the greater its role and significance for society will be.

Rutte thus held fast to the tradition of his liberal predecessor Thorbecke, which soaked the Dutch constitution of the idea that it is not the government’s judgment on art and science of speaking.

“Gehrels’ plans are terribly tormented by such Pavlovian reactions,” said Pierre Ballings, director of Paradiso. What Gehrels does is nothing more than to point out that this time, with its changing city, places different demands on cultural policy than those of twenty years ago. Nobody can object to that. But before seriously thinking about it, everyone flees under Thorbecke’s skirts.

It is sensible and necessary to return the debate about art to the political arena, says Dutch National Ballet’s business director Stijn Schoonderwoerd. That takes art out of its isolation. In his view, it is also legitimate for politicians to point out their social tasks to art institutions. ”Quality comes first, and it should stay that way. However, this should not be an excuse for the art world to shirk its social responsibilities.”

To make his words more concrete Schoonderwoerd uses a comparison with the sport. That’s primarily about the medals. But the sports sector is also committed to football pitches in deprived areas and tries to get overweight children to exercise more. Such a role should also be played by art.

Art does not only belong to the artists, says Gehrels. Art belongs to the entire city – to all the people. And therefore also from politics. Important nuance: ”I do not touch the art and the artists.

”The discussions about art and subsidies are stifled by the artistic primacy,” says Ballings. The Kunstraad, which has been advising on who should receive a subsidy for twenty years with the support of specialists, relies on the quality principle. Ballings: That sounds nice, but nobody knows exactly what is meant by that. It is clear, however, that the art council’s way of thinking overlooks new art forms that are popping up all over the city. The Arts Council has ignored the concept of cultural diversity for years.

We are now in the new age of art and technology. Everywhere, we can see the arts. A program like custom by paint by number can help you to create your own media project.

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