Theatre in Wales

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Heritage Minister praises the arts sector but warns of challenges ahead     

Heritage Minister praises the arts sector but warns of challenges ahead The Minister for Heritage Alun Ffred Jones has used his speech to the Arts Council annual conference in Barry to caution that although difficult times lie ahead, the arts have a vital role to play in tough times, not only through lifting spirits, but also in helping the public understand the world around them.

He said: ”I have not come today to tell you that the arts are immune from the global situation. But I also want to deliver a message about the huge importance of the arts at a time such as this. Now is a time for you, the arts community of Wales, to be asking yourselves searching questions. Questions about the responsibility you have to help communities in various ways”

“I come here with an immense feeling of pride in what the arts in Wales have achieved in recent years. As I look around I see ambitious, imaginative arts organisations that are doing outstanding work, day in and day out.”

“The wider creative industries in Wales…are worth well over one billion pounds a year to our economy. These creative and cultural industries are a vital engine of our economy in other ways.”

“Some parts of the creative industries are significant attractions, boosting tourism and all that entails. They also help put Wales on the international map, raising its image world-wide.”

Turning to funding, the Minister said: “I need the arts experts to tell me why every pound matters, and what every pound can achieve. I do not expect anyone to take funding for granted. I have asked the Arts Council to carry out a root and branch review of its funding models and that this will see winners and losers. It may well be that we have to concentrate resources on fewer organisations. Ensuring that they have sufficient resources to fulfil their potential and make an impact will be the challenge.”

The Minister also used his speech to praise the work being done to promote arts in Wales on the international stage, as well as praising the work being done to widen access to the arts and to commending the work of volunteers in the sector. He also outlined how the arts, can and are linking into health and education.
Welsh Assembly Government  
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Friday, May 1, 2009back



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