In the midst of a national cultural war over the validity of the troubled statue, the British government has decided to cut funding for educational arts and design programs by 50%, a new report indicates. The decision came after a proposal earlier this year by UK Education Minister Gavin Williamson, who assumed that the coronavirus pandemic would require a financial focus on “strategic priorities”. The priorities he defined do not include the arts, performing arts, or music. The government’s move has already provoked clear outrage from artists and cultural critics who believe reductions are a terrible idea, but nothing seems to be able to reverse the decision.
“These changes will help direct increased subsidy funding towards high-cost supplies that support key industries and critical public service delivery, reflecting priorities emerging in the light of the coronavirus pandemic,” Williamson said in a statement. Williamson believes that government funding should focus primarily on industries related to medicine, science, and technology.
As expected, art advocates have been fiercely opposed to the newly announced government position. “Boris [Johnson] What is the position of the first Prime Minister who spoke for a long time about our values when he became Prime Minister? Paula Orrell, director of the Contemporary Visual Arts Network, said: artnet news. “Rather than continuing to eradicate the arts across the systematic education system from primary to higher education, we need to find economic solutions that empower future generations of educational options.”
Unfortunately, education cuts are by no means limited to the UK. A report released last November found that 67% of US museums surveyed reported that they had curtailed education, programming, and other public services due to budget shortfalls related to the epidemic.