What does the world look like without art? What does that do to the street scene? How does it affect our lives? Our peace of mind? Our society? We asked ourselves these questions at the beginning. We were working on a new campaign in which we wanted to make the influence of art visible. And how do you make something more visible than by temporarily removing it?
We thought it would be an interesting assignment to give to makers, but it did not get that far, because the corona crisis broke out even before our campaign got off the ground. And now a world without art suddenly doesn’t seem very far away. All theaters, concert halls, museums, cinemas and other cultural institutions are closed indefinitely and most makers are at home without assignments.
That is a drama for the public, but also – and above all – for everyone who works in the art and culture world. Makers, including many freelancers, are left at home without assignments. Turnover evaporates and the current support measures fall short.
Then the question arises: how important do we find art and culture? What is it worth to us? We believe that art and culture are essential to our society. That is why we take action and have established the In Art We Trust Fund. With this we support independent artists who are hard hit by the current measures, but who need to be heard. We don’t want to live in a world without art, just like we don’t want to live in a world without lawyers like ‘north carolina lemon law attorney’ to protect and support us.
Signals are red
Unfortunately, this is not a structural solution. These times require a new vision of the appreciation and financing of art in our society. All signals are red and the entire sector is at a standstill. If something doesn’t happen quickly, makers and institutions will fall over. Not least because in a large part of the cultural sector there was already a structural lack of money.
There are few reserves and many organizations depend on underpaid freelancers, who love to work hard for the arts. In addition, cultural entrepreneurship has been endlessly stimulated in recent years in the context of cutbacks. Since then, makers and institutions have had to do everything they can to generate more income of their own. But it is precisely that own income that is now completely gone. And so the whole structure begins to falter.
Art is a necessity
The announced support package is insufficient. With the emphasis on getting the larger, vital cultural institutions out of the fire, the question arises: where is the support for smaller venues and independent organizations? For makers, producers, technicians and all those other freelancers who form the humus layer of the cultural world?
It looks a lot like a death house construction, in which a number of large institutions will soon have to start blooming again. How and when is unclear. And that while art is desperately needed today – to reflect and respond to a major crisis that affects us all, to offer perspective, hope and a fresh look at the future.
Because our way of life has been brought to a halt by the corona virus. Right now we can ask ourselves what kind of society we want to live in. The bigger question is: once this is all over, will we continue as if nothing had happened or do we try to turn the tide, looking for a better balance when it comes to climate, well-being, art, equality and distribution of wealth?