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Deborah Bull: From Private Patronage to Public Purse

William Burlington

Arts Council Annual Lecture 1996.

I believe that we are all innately responsive to the arts, but that our natural response is rarely nurtured, and is too often suffocated in our early years.

Where the flame has been extinguished, experience in the arts needs guidance. It must be led by human contact.

You cannot simply throw art, even great art at people. It will bounce right off their turned and stiffened backs.

We should have no aim for art as mass culture. It is the product of, and relates to those qualities that make us individual, not those qualities which define a mass.

But each mass is made up of individuals; we infiltrate the mass by touching the individual.

A critical response to the arts will always involve a consideration of the feelings that art evokes.

As the distinctive characteristic of art is that it reflects the important issues of life within it, it follows that an exploration of the arts will result in an increase in the knowledge of those issues and therefore in the range of feelings which those issues can arouse.

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