I was strolling down Cheap Street during my lunch break – having completed my Rook Lane errands – when I bumped into Pete and Hilary – Frome residents, Rook Lane stewards, ex- headteachers, lovers of the arts, diggers of Frome tunnels (Pete) and a whole load of other interesting and impressive things.
We got talking about the arts – the Frome Festival art debate, funding (mostly lack of), the various creative groups in Frome who are working tirelessly to support the arts venues and the artists who are not selling any art work. And then Hilary shared her dismay at the opinion of some people that art is not worth paying money for and that artists should not expect to earn a living from their art.
Art surrounds us every day – from the work of street artists, such as Banksy – to the architectural design of all the beautiful buildings that line England’s streets. Art is used to design clothes; to arrange flowers; to adorn book covers; to fill art galleries. Artists are employed to create advertising campaigns to sell products or services; to decorate houses; to landscape gardens; to document events though photography.
Art can be visual, the written word, performance, music – and more. It can be political, emotional, encouraging, motivating, moving, shocking, enlightening and it can educate.
And so I absolutely agree with Hilary that we cannot shun, or become complacent, about art or artists – they contribute massively to England’s rich culture. In times of economic decline, we must continue to appreciate the value of creativity and look forward to regaining the financial support that is required to keep England’s art world live and kicking. Keep creating!