The supposed self-evidence of voluntariness in cultural activities

Submmited by Nina Vredegoor on Saturday, 28 May 2011

Most of the time art is seen as ‘the cherry on the cake’ - nice if it’s possible, but in the end art is a luxury, not a basic need for life. Since the crisis a lot of governments in Europe are cutting back on arts funding. Being creative doesn’t mean that everybody has to make genius masterpieces though, but by being creative in everyday life we can help people in a lot of different ways. In a lot of cases, governments cutting back on art means that an artist or cultural institute needs to be more commercial. But there is a big dilemma with this development. When you need to be more focused on being commercially interesting, you cannot focus on being creative, which means as an artist or cultural organization you always have to work in a gray area between independence and paying your bills.

In the field of arts there are two types of artist: on the one hand the very few who can live from their work easily and earn a lot of money, and on the other hand the majority of artists who cannot live from their work and have to ‘volunteer’ to get their work exhibited. The workshop concluded that volunteering in the arts is done for the same motives as doing volunteering in other fields.

Like many other sectors, also the cultural world needs volunteers in order to function. Volunteering here also helps to keep the independence of art and artists. For organisations involved in arts it is important to connect. Being allied means more opportunities to work independently. Volunteers in cultural activities are not needed in order to keep the artist alive, but to keep creativity alive.

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