Letter: Nourishment needed for the life of the mind

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The Independent Online
Sir: We speak for the hundreds of artists and promoters in music, dance, literature and the visual arts who use the South Bank Centre when we urge Peter Brooke, the Secretary of State for National Heritage, to make the strongest possible case for the arts during the current spending round. The arts are an enormously positive asset for this country, attracting millions of visitors and boasting an international reputation. The South Bank alone welcomes some 6 million people each year, many from overseas.

But this is only part of the story. The arts are the key to the life of the mind. They invigorate, feed and stimulate the intellect and emotions. It may be unfashionable to talk about the morale of the nation, but for what is an extremely modest sum for the Treasury, the arts offer hope, debate, escape, a commentary on our times and a home for our deepest emotions.

Even more importantly, the arts are central in teaching young people about their history, their own creativity, the world of ideas, how to think for themselves and how to evaluate what they see and hear; a particular priority at the South Bank Centre. The amount of money spent on the arts is modest, but the benefits are immeasurable. We urge all involved in funding the arts to ensure adequate resources for one of this country's most brilliant and valuable assets.

Yours sincerely,




Chief Executive

The South Bank Centre

London, SE1

21 June