In a nutshell the answer is NO or at least that was what the final decision was following the event by Editorial Intelligence at The Hospital Club.
Yesterday, morning along with about another a hundred other people I attended the panel chaired by Veronica Wadley of The Arts Council on ‘Can Philanthropy save the arts?’
The panel was made up of an array of experts all with different ideas however with an underlying agreement the answer was in fact NO.
You can actually listen to the debate live via the podcast on the following link:
First up on the panel was John Studzinski and he spoke of how art had played an important part in shaping the culture of the United Kingdom with producing names such as Shakespeare, Charles Darwin to name a few, as art was the spoken word.
Second, was Colin Tweedy and he had a fascinating approach to the question which was, it is all about the ‘people’. He spoke of the power of the people who was evident with recent campaigns such as the saving of the woodlands and rural libraries compared to the ‘Big Give’ arts campaign.
Thirdly, Julia Peyton-Jones spoke of her involvement with the Serpentine Gallery and I was surprised to learn that only 22% of the funds to keep this venue are received from the State with the other 82% raised via fundraising.
Fourthly, Nicholas Kent spoke of the importance of involvement within the communities, and how with the lottery funding had assisted this. As a Director of Tricycle Theatre he spoke about the artists themselves and he believed that philanthropy can actually strangle development.
Lastly, it was Will Gompertz and he believed that art was the victim of philanthropy. He believes, and I agree that all the different art institutions should look to work together in the communities so that they can offer something for everyone resulting in more opportunities for mentoring and innovation.
It was then open floor for the Q&A and the two main points that I will take away are, firstly that it comes down to ‘education’ and secondly, taking ownership and being entrepreneurial with twinning/collaborative opportunities.
A great event as per usual from Editorial Intelligence and the setting at The Hospital Club was perfect.
In fact, I will certainly be adding it to my list of venues for weddings and special occasions.
So, to answer the question I think it should be reversed to say ‘The Arts save philanthropist’.