Why the arts are so crucial to society during and post COVID-19
The government’s most recent campaign of a ballerina sitting in a studio with the caption ‘Fatima’s next job could be in cyber’ and ‘Rethink. Reskill. Reboot’ is a disgraceful message to put out to the public. The creative arts have always been the area of schools that have been compromised with Drama, Music and Art course budgets being cut and given to STEM subjects that are seen as more important all over the world.
The attitudes of schools all over the world towards the arts are that they are of limited use and take away from the learning of Maths and Sciences. Having cuts to school budgets means that schools have had to make significant cut-backs, and a lot of it comes from the artistic subjects. In January 2018, the BBC did a survey that said ‘Of the schools that responded nine out of ten, say they had cut back on lesson time, staff or facilities in at least one creative arts subject.’ The schools doing this are telling students that the arts are less critical to their learning than the STEM subjects. The Telegraph posted a contrasting article on 25th June 2020 saying “Arts subjects have as much value as STEM’: the new education campaign tackling the myth of ‘soft’ degrees.’ This article shows that calling creative subjects ‘soft’ degrees will put people off studying those subjects as they are seen as an unimportant. The recent campaign which came out in October 2020, that’s wholly contradicted that idea of promoting the creative arts as they have told people to consider other areas to study. However, the government has not decided to withdraw from this due to the backlash. With all the cuts to the creative arts The Guardian said in May 2019 ‘In 2017, the number of entries for GCSE Drama declined by 8.5%, while A-level entries for Dance fell by 42%, Drama by 33% and Music by 38% between 2010 and 2018.’ The arts have suffered due to governments overlooking them as it is considered that if students are interested in the arts, they will be doing them out of school. However, people aren’t going to be looking into it without schools introducing them to what the skills have to offer.
Even with the decrease of the schools funding, the industry is a multi-million dollar. The industry of acting and music also creates thousands of jobs; not just the actors or musicians but others such as producers, directors, camera and sound crew. Telling people that the industry is not worth the recognition is being naïve to what it does for people. In Iron Man 3 there were 3,310 crew members, which is the most crew there has been in a film from 1994–2013, taking away the industry would take away jobs from those 3,310 people plus the people who are on other films. Taking out the creative arts due to the covid pandemic is going to be taking away what the new generation has to show for their imagination and creativity. Netflix, Youtube and Spotify are all things that people around the world use every day and to discredit them as unimportant as they not seen as a critical career over computing or mathematician; when it would never be said to a pilot who should be facing the same trepidation. Forbes wrote in March 2020 ‘The global entertainment market topped $100 billion for the first time last year. The Motion Picture Association released a new report on the international box office and home entertainment market showing that the industry reached $101 billion in 2019.’ Presenting that the film industry is as strong as it has ever been if not stronger with movies that are still gaining significant money at the box office.
Plays and Musicals are getting similar treatment from the government, not recognising that it brings people enjoyment and entertainment in addition to employment. Even with the two-metre rule during the Covid pandemic, theatres are working hard to try to get their services back. However, the government keep postponing allowing them to reopen, and it is now back to 2021, yet sporting events are allowed to continue. Forbes posted the picture that shows how much money each Broadway show makes. During quarantine, Andrew Lloyd Webber created a youtube channel called ‘The Show Must Go On’ where his pre-recorded shows were made available in pro shots to keep people invested in shows. Examples being The Phantom of the Opera and Hairspray. The National Theatre did a similar thing showing their plays like Jane Eyre. The viewing figures for both showed that people are interested and want to get back to watch their favourite plays and musicals. With the government’s new campaign, it is saying that people should reconsider, despite the clear evidence that it is a thriving industry.
Covid 19 has had an enormous impact on the arts, both positive and negative. The arts are not just the performer; they are the designer, set designer and multiple more skilled and highly trained professionals. The government saying ‘Rethink. Reskill. Reboot.’ is wrong as people have been training for years and to discredit their hard work is wrong. This depicts that multiple creative jobs went into this pictured campaign. These jobs connect not only to the economy with the amount of money it brings in, but also peoples mental health for both people who watch it and perform it.