Grunts for the Arts

The Toppling of Fragile Beauty
April 25, 2008, 4:47 pm
Filed under: The Saga of the Arts Council

Within a matter of months, the Arts Council had a monumental shakedown of its regularly funded organisations – even, some say, disregarding its own policies and procedures (

Magnificent institutions such as Chisenhale Dance Space, Total Theatre, Station House Opera and the National Disability Arts Forum (amongst many tens of others) – were stripped of their regularly funded status and left to sink or swim in the much harsher climate of non-statutory and local government funding.

Of course, many esteemed and worthwhile organisations gained funding, or even received an increase in what they were already receiving. And it would be only the most foolish amongst us who would suggest that once granted RFO status, an organisation should forever remain that way.

But to mismanage these shifts in such calamitous fashion, and so soon after the dismal reductions to Grants for the Arts funding, has alienated the Arts Council hugely from those who they should be supporting and allowed a bleak and chillsome climate to settle upon the sector.

We at Grunts for the Arts would never dare make such a suggestion, but some have been so bold as to wonder if there wasn’t certain strings attached to the CSR increase – that perhaps governmental interference lies behind the Arts Council decision to focus on ‘Excellence’ (read product and output) and to move away from experimentation, innovation and process.


This, friends, is the landscape that artists now find themselves in. In disagreement with those who are supposed to be their allies, their once wealthy (or at least wealthier) world lies in ruins around them and those seers amongst us, as they look towards the distant hills of the future, can see only grey misery and dark clouds on the horizon.

But don’t be miserable. Grunts for the Arts – like the Phoenix – will rise again from these ashes. A shining beacon of goodness and belief we stand proud for all to see.
And whilst we can’t make money return to where it was once given so generously, we can play sport, and we can make art, and we will do both in particularly splendid ways.


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