Creative because it feels good
“More and more do arts organisations feel they have to demonstrate their financial rather than their artistic prowess as a means of obtaining funds to support their existence. Arts festivals big and small commission economic impact studies to trumpet their success in creating employment, raising local incomes and encouraging tourism; understanding their cultural impacts often seems to take second place.”
According to this article in The Syndey Morning Herald this is what is happening in Australia. The same criticism can be heard in many other countries.
In The Netherlands the shift towards looking at “the economic contribution of the arts as a justification for assisting them” is a recent one. For decades the Dutch system for subsidising artistic activity was based on the idea that arts and economy are in completely different domains. The rise of the cultural or creative industries changed all that, as it became increasingly clear that one could make money from artistic creativity. It seems a bit strange, though, that the economic discourse seems to be gradually nullifying all voices arguing that the arts also produce non-economic value.