Policy and Planning with a Purpose or The Art of Making Choices in Arts Funding

September, 2001

Our topic is quite simple, really:

“How does one make informed choices in arts funding and in arts policy?”

Some of us might prefer to pretend that there are no choices to be made. Art is good, and more is better. Arts funding is good, and more is better. How often have we heard our friends and colleagues expressing these sentiments, if not in these exact words? And the logical outcome of adopting such a posture follows as night follows day: quod erat demonstrandum, more money would afford us the luxury of not having to make choices and we could just get along with our lives making and enjoying art.

But, like it or not, making choices is the fundamental action that is taken by government arts agencies, whether they are providing funding, running projects, lobbying government, commissioning research, holding seminars, or pursuing policy through some other mechanism. Our interest—and here I include artists, arts administrators, government personnel, citizens, and taxpayers—is in how those choices are to be made.

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