Letter: Paying the piper

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The Independent Culture
Sir: David Benedict seems to have been asleep for the past 20 years.

When business sponsorship in the arts was first raised we all cried at the prospect of commercialisation, living as we did in a cosy coterie of arts chums. We had two shocks coming. One, a public funding system which set ever more stringent criteria for declining funding - education; marketing; cultural diversity; internationalism; young people; cultural industry; "new work" - and wanted not only observer status on our boards but also to nominate other members. Two, positive relationships with sponsors and partners who chose the product that suited them and not the other way around.

Nobody in the arts today would bemoan either of these developments.

The Jerwood Foundation at least sticks to its guns as a funder. It has always focused on emerging talent and supported many of the new generation of creators, which surely is the concern of the Royal Court - a perfect sponsor match.

We in the arts in Britain live happily half way between the total domination of private money in the US and public in the rest of Europe - so the piper plays....