Another article that highlights the way art (and artists) are used to prop up a declining civic and commercial sector. Making this point today would seem now to be unnecessary in so many places, in the U.K. and abroad; old hat. So what?
You'd be surprised. When this city's revitalisation fantasies were fuelled by copious amounts of (borrowed) money in the years before 2008, mentioning the role of the arts in creating success for a depressed post-Industrial city centre fell on some very unhappy ears. I was myself slapped down in public by a highly paid well filled suit piloting a 'Shop til We Drop' strategy for this city for even mentioning it. Artist's he said with a wrinkled nose, were perverts. The big name stores would be lured into town and, given easy plastic credit then available no questions asked, so would the shoppers. High Street UK. Weirdo and pervert free.
What do we have now in my fair city? An ever increasing café society and more art galleries in abandoned commercial premises. Who would have predicted that?
Latest redundant English sea side town to see the art route to a future – any sort of future – is Folkstone, like fellow struggler, Margate and sharing many of the same problems. The London Observer's Tim Adams explains here. (Off site link.)