Best work of art for subsidy ? Let’s help the Government

Here’s a thought.

We’re always being encouraged to ring up and vote for the best in Saturday night television: the Best Singer, the Best Performer, the Best Dancer, or the Best Goal Scored This Season.

With all the debate about the value of culture, and the moral question about what art is good and should be supported by an ever-dwindling budget for the arts, why don’t we apply the same principle to works of art?

Let’s encourage everyone to ring up a specially-created cultural phone-in, where we can all vote for what we each think is a great piece of art. One week we can vote for a piece of music, the next for a painting, the following for a piece of sculpture, and so on. The piece which elicits the most votes will have been democratically chosen, and therefore have the greatest value. Funding for it would be assured, and it would be sustained for the future enjoymemt of others.

Pieces which atract the fewest or no votes are thus not valued by the democratc masses, and need not be funded. Fewer works would therefore be competing for a limited amount of funding, and the value of the winning piece would have been quantifiably and publically shown to have value.

To those who argue that art is not valued and should therefore not be funded, opponents  can demonstrate a democratically selected work whose value is sufficiently significant enough for the majority to have voted for it.

Finally, meaningless competitions in which people currently participate, like ‘The Nation’s Favourite Poem,’ or ‘Favourite Operatic Aria,’ or ‘Best-loved Tea-Cosy,’ could wield genuine artistic clout, and have a real purpose in directing funding towards publically-valued works.

A sure-fire way of proving the value of art, liberated from vague arguments about its educative or moral worth, and a celebration of our democratic right to choose.

I’m surprised the Department for Culture, Media and Sport hasn’t thought of this already, a means of harnessing pointless, powerless pseudo-democratic action without any real merit to a real decision-making policy process.

Who’s with me?


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