From: Mike Simpson
Over the last month I have read various letters in the Herald about the Towner Art Gallery. Most letters have supported the council’s difficult decision to reduce the funding to the gallery.
However, on January 5 two letters took the contrary view.
One thing struck me about both these latest letters, they contained a claim that is simply untrue. The reduction in the budget received from the council will not spell the end of the Towner Art Gallery. What it will mean is an adjustment in how the gallery spends the £400,000 they will still receive.
And let’s not forget, they also receive a huge amount of money from the Arts Council. The problem with art administrators is that they only think about art.
The Towner Art Gallery, like all publicly funded non-statutory services, have to adapt to the way public finances are now constructed. Or perhaps deconstructed is a better word. The tap is being turned off by the government. Only drips remain and those drips are being spent on statutory services i.e. essential public services. If I was running the Towner Art Gallery I wouldn’t kick and scream and cry foul. You don’t win friends like that. They have acres of space in the building so why not get some events in there. With the Congress Theatre and Winter Garden out of use currently they have a great opportunity. Innovate and get creative with the scheduling. On certain evenings give the place over to people who couldn’t give a monkeys about art, but will buy a pint and let some aspiring comic make them laugh or listen to a new indie band. Perhaps the Towner team should bring in the team that would be normally running the theatres and ask for their help?