The Importance of the Arts
In the last four months, much of the UK society has shut down. Shops, businesses, workplaces and schools are the ones which most come to mind, yet there is one sector which has struggled and has not received the attention it deserves.
The Arts sector is one which brings joy and entertainment to so many people across the UK. Every year, millions of us go to theatres, cinemas and concerts for enjoyment. During the lockdown, these places were some of the first to close. They might have dropped down the list of priorities for many people, but the truth is we need the arts more than we think.
Of course, the economy looked to be in a delicate position when most of society ground to a halt in late march/ early April. However, like with other times throughout history, the economy bounced back. It hinges on the confidence of people to spend money, much like the fortunes of theatres and music halls. The only difference is that the latter two needed to wait much longer for its bail out.
Thankfully, the Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak announced a £1.6 billion bailout plan for the Arts sector earlier this week. Without such a plan, the sector could have faced a crisis like never before.
The issue with this is the fallacy that the arts are not important. Yes, they aren’t vital to keep us alive; but they are when it comes to making life worth living. They give us culture and create fantasy worlds, far away from our own. The arts might not be practically efficient, but the people involved in the industry work hard to give us the entertainment we usually need as a pick me up when things in our own lives are not all together going to plan.
The bailout amount is far greater than culture bosses, and most likely most people in the industry, would have expected the government to provide. It is money which will give a much needed injection of hope and support to a sector which too few people truly appreciate the value of. It will help to make sure the show at your local theatre has a better chance to go on, and provide light relief at the end of a year which, let’s be honest, has pushed millions of us to the brink.
It may look a bit different, but a trip to the theatre or cinema is always worth looking forward to.
One positive to take from this horrible period for the arts is that, hopefully, more people will take a step back and appreciate the industry more. The next time you think of the arts as being non-essential, think of what your life would be without music, art, theatre, literature or anything else vaguely creative; because that’s the kind of world we would be in if it wasn’t for the arts.
The coronavirus pandemic has taught us of the value of life; appreciating others and to not take things for granted. It will leave its irreversible scar on millions of people across the UK, but at the end of this incredibly long and often daunting tunnel will be the light of normality, and part of the world at the end of it needs to be a one in which the arts will still be an escape.