Cramley's Vibrant Artistic Life

From Q&A session at the Cramley Working Men's Club 26/10/98.

Question: 'Would you support all this money being wasted on artists scrounging off our rates?'

Rev Steve's reply:

'As you may know, under this dog collar I'm just an ordinary bloke so I sometimes have a little difficulty understanding the more 'way out' works of art I see around the borough. I must admit I sometimes have difficulty understanding whether some of it is art , in its proper sense, at all.
But having said that I am open minded to new forms of human expression and new ways of looking at the world. It is a fact of life that our art, like everything else in life, must evolve and move on if it is to remain vibrant and alive.

The question is whether it is fair, desirable, or necessary for us, the rate payers, to pay for it !'

How should your money be spent?

'What I would like to address tonight is the degree to which this vital, unstoppable creative stream needs to be assisted by rate payers.
I believe that the human need to be creative can be seen in the most exalted and mundane contexts from the great symphonies and paintings to the great films and pop songs of the recent past.
It is a matter of fact that many of the great artists of the past created their most sublime work in a situation of poverty (two of my favourite artists, Rembrandt and Van Gough were as poor as church mice).
This isn't to condone their poverty, of course, but simply to point out that art (and the quality of the art is the thing we are addressing here, not the well being of the artist ) prevails in even the most adverse of circumstances - principally because of the indomitable human spirit which I believe is the catalyst of greatness in all spheres of life.
I believe our duties both to our community and to the art produced in the borough should run parallel and that the art sponsored by the council should reflect that community in its full diversity.'

Some good examples:

'I will give you two examples of what I consider to be good practice in this area.
The work done by the Cramley Multi Media Arts Lab is a good example of futuristic thinking tied to the real needs of the community. Their Creative Workshops with pupils, students and the unemployed have provided those engaged in the project with knowledge of HTML and related skills which equip the young with the hi-tec knowledge they will need in the work place of the 21st century. The Arts in Action Unit's work with artists who beautify the parks and temporary vacant spaces of Cramley is also important. I know that your family, as well as mine, have benefited from Meena Kafrey's Play Ground Project in Runyan Park'.

The Direction Forward - Something New:

'I am being, as ever, honest with you when I say I don't have a total solution to how rate payers should subsidise the arts in Cramley. But I do see a direction forward which will lessen the load on the community charge payer and and also allow the artistic life of the borough to continue to thrive.
The alliances made with local industries (the Tempex Digital Research Unit which supports the work of the Cramley Multi Media Arts Lab, theTidyman Fabrics Art Prize and Sherman's Self Storage Artist in Residency Scheme) help make an alliance between artists, industry and the community.
We must move forward so that the financial, technological and artistic innovators in Cramley can come together to make something new. I can see a virtuous circle being generated where the cutting edges of industry, the arts and local government generate new art forms, new industrial breakthroughs and new cultural opportunities for all the people of Cramley.'

Rev Steve's views on:

  • Social exclusion and the homeless
  • Genetic engeneering in Cramley

  • Rev Steve's Home Page