We have just been sent some rather dated minutes from a VALS meeting. Indeed – a leaked document. We’re like SPIES.
VALS is an arts advocacy group of art pros patched together to petition the government to tell them how important the arts are. All of these people stand to lose out when the cuts are imposed. Erica Boulton will be fucked because PR consultancy will be the first to go with budget cuts, Ralphy can’t sell tickets (a quote from an emailed comment on his programme: “Ralph’s painfully populist program is failing to deliver paying audiences as British audiences aren’t as stupid as Americans and know when they’re being patronised”). JPJ has courted the private sector so extensively to pay her and HUO’s 100k+ salaries and annual tea-party pavilion that the government has probably realised they can accommodate the cuts fairly easily. God forbid they cauterise Julia’s champers fund.
The minutes we were sent were such an embarrassing insight into whose hands the attempt to stifle cuts are in (though, to be fair, some of the more useful members of the group were absent) at first we didn’t dare print it. And, unusually diplomatically of us, we didn’t want to stymie potential saving the arts attempts. We’re the first to agree that something has to be done, but really, well, we think we may be screwed.
Leaving disaster aversion of the future of the arts in the hands of Julia Peyton Jones, Ekow Eshun and Erica Bolton may not bode well for us all.
Now, thanks to the release of David Shrigley’s animation (more on this later, next post), encouraging us to sign this petition and save the arts, we thought we’d publish them.
God help us all.
VALS Advocacy Working Group
16 July 2010 – Southbank Centre Offices
Attendees: Erica Bolton, Julia Peyton Jones, Ralph Rugoff, Luisa Summers (minutes)
Apologies: Iwona Blazwick, Ekow Eshun, Jonathan Harvey, Matthew Slotover, Polly Staple
Ralph Rugoff was pleased to welcome Erica Bolton to the VALS Advocacy Group discussions.
Erica Bolton gave a brief overview on the new government and the implications of the suggested cuts. It is realistic for the Culture sector to accept cuts of 10% or at worst 15% but cuts of suggested 25-30% would mean closure of arts organisations. [CoS: this is before the news came that we are looking at more like 40% cuts].
EB stressed that an appeal against cuts needed to be made directly to David and Samantha Cameron. Both David Cameron and Nick Klegg [CoS: Klegg?! Typo lol.] have children and will be more sympathetic towards Arts. [CoS: ?! WHAT?!]
Following discussions from the previous Advocacy meeting regarding a quick turnaround project conversation resumed:
Timings for quick turnaround project –
EB explained that the allocation of funding for DCMS will be decided by September 2010 and announced on 22 October 2010. It is important to continue with the appeal against cuts in an attempt to influence DCMS’ decision of how to allocate money between Arts, Sport, Media and Tourism.
1. 20 Leading Artists appeal to the Prime Minister (this could be Visual Artists only).
- Press would love this.
- Actors and Actresses could be invited, including: Stephen Fry, Ian McKellen, Judy Dench, Helen Mirren, David Tennant (for wide public appeal).
- Artists who could be invited, including: David Hockney, Anish Kapoor, Bridget Riley, Lucian Freud.
2. Personal emails to Samantha Cameron from top visual artists. [CoS: Dear Sam. I love your notebooks. Please save our arts].
3. Day of Action (Cross London Event idea)
4. Childrens’ Art Sleepover
- One night of sleepovers for children in every major art organisation.
- Volunteers to run these nights as service to the public
- Creates great press coverage
[CoS: this is great. We have visions of HUO shepherding twenty angry London teens around the park at 2am trying to confiscate their bottles of vodka]
5. Artists Petition No. 10
- An overnight vigil by artists outside No. 10 [CoS: Count us IN. We love a vigil. We've got our sleeping bags at the ready. Just say the word and we'll all be there]
6. Business People
- Business people and entrepreneurs to send emails and petition on behalf of arts.
A slogan is needed for the appeal like ‘Cut us but don’t kill us’. EB suggested inviting Tim Delaney and John Heggarty to a session to help formulate this.
The slogan is for the public and not the government.
Areas to promote in campaigns –
1. Britain is rubbish at football, tennis, most things . . . [CoS: see next post on Shrigley film.]
2. Art & Culture is what Britain does best . . .
3. The fear factor . . . Britain would lose its world-leading position in the cultural field after radical cuts to the arts.
Series of Campaigns with Artists – leading to actions
David Shrigley Film – Looking at the David Shrigley Pringle advert, the group decided to approach him to make an animated advocacy film for the arts, designed to arouse public opposition to radical cuts to the arts.
Action – Julia Peyton Jones called David Shrigley during the meeting and left a message. JPJ to follow up with DS re: film. [Cos: Can you visualise her 'in meeting enthusiasm'? I'll ring him NOW! Poor Shrigley]
Alison Jackson image – an idea of the Tories as the new Puritans. Cameron turning into Cromwell. Possible poster ideas.
Action – Erica Bolton to contact Alison Jackson with this idea. AJ to create a campaign.
Mark Wallinger advert and billboards – Mark Wallinger to create an advert and billboard campaign, possibly working with TBWA Ad Agency who Matthew Slotover has approached..
Action – Ralph Rugoff to contact Mark Wallinger about campaign.