WHERE would we be without public art? There are items that make us smile, others that prompt us to remember darker times, and others that – no matter what we might think of them – are always capable of launching a heated debate.
Many commuters’ working days will have got off to a bleaker start now that Turning the Place Over, in Moorfields, has finally ceased rotating.
Art undoubtedly adds to the quality of our lives – yet it is increasingly likely to fall victim to the first fusillade of spending cuts, whenever funding is tight. Of course, healthcare and policing are important – but so is keeping us all sane when the economy offers so few prospects for light relief.
The A Foundation, a ground- breaking cultural institution with a gallery making use of space in the old warehouses at Greenland Street, Liverpool, is the latest organisation to fall foul of austerity-induced philistinism.
The Arts Council could not commit to provide the Foundation’s expected funding, so officials said they had little option but to shut up shop, instantly bringing an end to several international arts projects planned for this year.
The Foundation has also played a partnership role with the biennial John Moores Painting Prize, leaving those responsible for the scheme wondering just who they will work with when it comes to finding next year’s winner.
Art exists in contrast to work, something designed to make us think and enjoy life, rather than just slaving away to make ends meet.
Once again, in pursuit of demolishing Britain’s deficit mountain, something has been sacrificed which had the potential to add a silver lining to our day, something to provide a distraction from the daily grind of life.
A life without art is a life dominated by stress, more prone to anxiety and sickness. We overlook the downside to such cultural cuts as these at our peril.
Liverpool is the poorer today for the demise of the A Foundation. But accountants will regard it as money saved in a minority sector. Has anyone ever erected a public art work to honour an accountant?