Two heads must roll to save the arts

Two heads must roll to save the arts


norman lebrecht

October 22, 2010

I have written an analysis on Bloomberg this morning of the fallout from the British Government’s epochal assault on arts provision, the biggest reversal in the history of arts funding.

As the dust clears and the tears are dried, attention will focus on the institution that John Maynard Keynes founded for encouraging and sustaining the arts – the Arts Council of England. That body changed beyond recognition in the past 13 years from an independent mentoring organisation to an enforcement of New Labour political requirements, riding so close to the Department of Culture (DCMS) that no-one but me batted an eyelid when a senior DCMS official was appointed chief executive of the Arts Council.

The ACE has been humiliated in this spending round for its policies and inefficiencies, more so than any other target of cuts. It has been singled out for punishment and criticism.

The ACE is not beyond redemption. But any reconstruction requires its chair, Dame Liz Forgan, and chief executive Alan Davey, to take responsibility for their actions and do the recent thing. Their resignations must surely be on the table when the Arts Council meets on Monday to discuss its diminished future.

You can read the Bloomberg analysis here: