Recently I was at an event where there was a stall for the Arts Council. I was standing at the stall when a woman came along and one of the people at the stall asked, ‘Are you interested in art?’ There was a pause and then the lady, whom I could describe as ‘middle-aged’ and ‘middle Ulster’ said, ‘Not really.’ I left at that point but it set me thinking about how people in Ulster view ‘art’.
I am sure that if she had been pressed on the matter there could have been an interesting conversation about perceptions of art but there is a challenge here for the arts sector and the arts establishment. Why is it that so many people do not see ‘art’ as interesting or relevant?
There is much discussion about funding for the arts, both from the public sector and the private sector, but there is another source of income and that is from those who attend arts events. If we can increase the income from this source, by attracting more people to the events, there will be more money going into the arts.
This brings me back to the question about how people in Ulster view ‘art’. It is not just an interesting topic for discussion, it is a question that has to be asked and answered by those seeking to increase their audiences and generate more income. Answers please .....