A Council of despair?

The Arts Council: too extravagant, too tight-fisted, too avant- garde, too safe... or too good for the critics?
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The Independent Culture



`Under Goodman, the Council did not try to direct artistic managements... they spoke up on behalf of the arts... They did not do it in 167 pages called The National Arts Strategy'

Philip Hedley

Theatre Royal, Stratford East

`Is it national policy to run down regional theatre? The trend is to be more conservative, as the risk of putting on new work is prohibitive. Financial constraints are driving policy by default'



Conservative MP

`I'd abolish the Secretary of State, close his department... and tell this bunch of parasites to set up their stall in the market-place like the rest of us'

Brian Sewell

Art critic, the Evening Standard

`For centuries heritage was enriched by princes of Church and state who cared nothing for democracy and pluralism. The heritage we lay down now is of piss and chocolate, dead sheep and piles of tyres - and we do it by committee'


Arts Council chairman (1965 to 1972)

`Government funding of the arts is niggardly and mean when it should be done with almost reckless abandon... I exult in the fact that I have devoted the greater part of my life to making the arts more evident in this country'


Arts Council chairman (1989 to 1994)

`Is it fatuous to apply some of our funds to enable disabled people to participate... to reward the talents of our Afro-Caribbean and Asian communities? People may call these policies fatuous. I call them a response to the realities of our times'