Saturday, March 11, 2006

Art for Art's Sake... Money for God's Sake

A battle royal is raging over the funding for a spectacular (I'm told the exterior doesn't do it justice) arts centre in West Bromwich.

I am a bit ambiguous over this. I was critical of Birmingham City Council for concentrating regeneration on the City Centre, with ‘prestige’ projects like the International Conference Centre, Symphony Hall, the National Indoor Arena and the Bull Ring Shopping Centre. However, they have attracted ‘funny money’ funding that wouldn’t have been available for spending on housing, social services and a better general environment. Also, there is no doubt that these projects are gradually changing the image of Brum… and people do like visiting the City. Not to mention the 1,000’s of jobs that have been created.

Meanwhile, a similar debate is going on in Liverpool, which narrowly beat Birmingham in the competition for the European Capital of Culture.