Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation

Arts value is ‘far beyond money’

    Jewish Museum’s Abigail Morris
    Jewish Museum’s Abigail Morris

    The benefits of the arts cannot always be measured in economic terms, leading figures in the Jewish cultural sphere warned this week.

    Responding to Culture Secretary Maria Miller’s call for the arts to demonstrate their economic value to qualify for public funding, the chief executive of the Jewish Museum in London insisted that cultural projects were not something you could “put a price on”, not least because “you can’t know in advance” what will be successful.

    Abigail Morris said: “You can’t measure the arts in straight economic terms, because some things that are hugely successful now, weren’t at first.” She pointed out that arts represent only a tiny portion of government spending.

    The Jewish Museum relies on both public and private funding, but makes back just 20 or 25 per cent of its costs by bringing visitors through the door. “We are vital to community cohesion and combating antisemitism, which you can’t really put a price on. You can’t really say what the commercial value of that is but you know how bad it is when there are riots,” said Ms Morris.

    Hester Abrams, the director of the annual Jewish Book Week festival, agreed that the benefits of the arts sometimes only became apparent “over decades or generations”.

    Ms Abrams said that Ms Miller’s comments did not represent a significant departure from those of the previous Labour government. “They agree the arts are very, very important. It’s more about the specific targets they set and whether they are reachable or defensible,” she explained.

    “The worry is that funding will shrink. If we don’t have government support, the arts become an ivory tower and private donors become the one leg that you stand on. You’ve got to have diverse sources of funding.”

    Helen Frais, the cultural director of the Leeds-based Makor and JFest international, said they had applied for public funding but had been rejected. She called on Ms Miller to make the application process less time-consuming. “You waste months doing paperwork,” she said.

UK News

Strictly Orthodox Ukip candidate 'should not run for office'

Marcus Dysch

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Strictly Orthodox Ukip candidate 'should not run for office'
Special Reports

Dublin benefits from overseas aid

Barry Toberman

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Dublin benefits from overseas aid
UK News

Luciana Berger troll driven by 'fierce antisemitism'

JC Reporter

Monday, December 5, 2016

Luciana Berger troll driven by 'fierce antisemitism'
UK News

Government drops pledge to aid 3,000 child refugees

Rosa Doherty

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Government drops pledge to aid 3,000 child refugees
UK News

Limmud: Food for thought at session on 'ethical eating'

By Simon Rocker

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Limmud: Food for thought at session on 'ethical eating'
UK News

Local MP blocks visit from David Irving's 'secret tour'

Rosa Doherty

Friday, December 2, 2016

Local MP blocks visit from David Irving's 'secret tour'
UK News

Anti-Israel conference faces delay

Lee Harpin

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Anti-Israel conference faces delay
UK News

Commission criticised over inquiry into 'antisemitic' charity

Daniel Sugarman

Monday, December 5, 2016

Commission criticised over inquiry into 'antisemitic' charity
UK News

Fawlty Towers star Andrew Sachs dies aged 86

JC Reporter

Friday, December 2, 2016

Fawlty Towers star Andrew Sachs dies aged 86