Friday, June 19, 2009


Nothing underlines the difference more than to leave the city of the velvet revolution, where the theatres became fora for assembly, debate, planning and information exchange, travel to the city of 3 opera houses and 7 symphony orchestras, including the pre-eminent orchestra in the world today, and then check what is going on at home only to find the dispiriting news that the Australia Council for the Arts staff are to go on strike for the first time over extreme workloads, wage reductions and poor morale. 

They just don't get it. The obvious is staring them in the face. If the Sydney Opera House doesn't define as clearly as possible what artistic investment can achieve beyond the immediate, then call me a politician. Strangely, at the recent Utzon memorial, it was left to Premier Natham Rees, in his broad twanging accent, not the empty headed federal minister of the yartz, to touch on what artistic  expenditure can do for spirit, soul, individual and national good. 

Here, William Osborne looks at the different attitudes to arts funding between Europe and the United States, a situatiion even more extreme in Australia where benefaction is occassional at best.

"1. Europeans use public funding to provide alternatives to the marketplace for cultural expression.

2. European politicians avoid attacking the arts for populist and opportunistic political gains.

3. European arts funding is generally decentralized and administered mostly on the state and municipals levels. 

4. Europeans use their cultural legacies to establish and assert their place in the world, often through extensive cultural diplomacy.

5. Europeans combine arts education with the living presence of the performing arts within their communities.

6. Even though Europeans often celebrate the lighter classics, they still stress classical musical for its inherent strengths.

7. Europeans view the city itself as the greatest and most complete expression of the human mind and spirit." 

Meanwhile, tonight


marcellous said...

I like how you have caught Unter den Linden in the glass.

Envying your wanderings!

WANDERER said...

Ah M, thank you; you live. i've been wondering, even worrying. Nice to know you're back.