Two leading figures in the arts have written a book calling for Arts Council England (ACE) to be abolished, arguing it has been taken over by “highly-politicised staff” whose “woke agenda” is failing to support “art of real consequence”. The Telegraph has more.
Alexander Adams, artist and art historian, and David Lee, editor of the Jackdaw magazine, say that the funding body’s priorities are “now political, not artistic”, while “hostile to the taste and values of the majority population”.
They describe ACE’s ethos as “rotten with politicisation and disregard for taxpayers”, adding that ACE-funded venues “allow creators resentful of native British people, their history and their majority demographic status”.
Their damning criticisms fill a new pamphlet, titled Abolish the Arts Council, published this weekend.
Mr Adams told the Telegraph: “Good artists have given up patience because they have been shut out of the system for not conforming to ACE’s Left-wing agenda. So, ACE has become an obstacle to the arts in this country.”
The pamphlet’s authors condemn a “suffocating political monoculture in the public arts”, where administrators are “disproportionately” Left-wing, anti-Brexit and anti-monarchy, and in which ACE “presents no genuine political diversity”.
ACE, alongside its regional sister organisations covering Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, is the U.K.’s largest arts funding organisation.
The pamphlet’s authors note that ACE’s annual budget for 2020-21 was £690 million, including £149 million from the Culture Recovery Fund, and employs as many as 639 full-time staff.
The authors despair that the current model of arts funding is “imperilled” by “politically-orientated staff”: “We are being denied art of real consequence because of the political agenda of ACE.”
Mr. Adams said: “Staff are expected to agree with the Left-wing identity-politics views of ACE regarding racial bias and historical injustice.”
In the pamphlet, the authors argue that the organisation “has been captured and degraded by activists” and that local communities, charities and donors would rescue really deserving arts groups: “Abolition of ACE is a first step to reducing the surplus of creators who exist on public funds and contribute little excellent, memorable or serious physical culture.”