23 July 2010

It maybe a cliché, but the old adage ‘you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone’ is a slogan art organisations should be shouting from their rooftops across the UK right now.

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As the scythe of recessionary cuts swings, the arts are facing the difficult task of making their case - in an extremely tough financial climate.

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But the truth is the arts budget is already tiny (17p a week per person – that’s less than half the price of a pint of milk!). Despite this, the return on investment is huge: world-class arts and artists and a sector that not only gives Britain an international edge as a dynamic place to live, work and do business, but which fuels the creative industries and has a proven track record of regenerating towns and cities.

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Here at FACT in Liverpool (the most successful European Capital of Culture ever), we know the power of the arts to regenerate a city and to educate and empower people. During my time working at FACT I’ve seen the impact we’ve had on individuals’ lives, whether it’s the cinema-goer accidentally ending up in our art galleries and exclaiming “it’s amazing, I never knew you did art here,” an older unemployed person getting a job through digital training or a young woman with mental health issues learning new skills and getting vital peer support through our pioneering multimedia art projects.

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I firmly believe that the people from our young people's, education and outreach programmes will end up as tomorrow’s film-makers, artists, musicians and producers – the people who make the UK’s creative industries so great. At FACT, we’ve already seen it happen.

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The arts in Liverpool and all over the country have already delivered so much – let’s make sure it continues.

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To read more about why the arts matter to all of us, go here.