People ask me, what’s the @MightyCreatives then? And what’s an Arts Council Bridge Organisation when it’s at home? And what does being an arts infrastructure organisation actually mean? And why don’t you just give the money directly to the organisations that are actually delivering the arts? And cut out the middle men? I used to ask the same question myself a lot.
But now I get it – and it’s very simple. An arts infrastructure organisation builds infrastructure much like architects and civil engineers build roads, railways, water supplies and the national grid.
Without civil infrastructure, people would never have travelled, economies would have stalled, cities would never have grown and public health would have been an impossible day dream.
Civic infrastructure is not a particularly sexy subject and although there is some romance to roads, railways and wind turbines, we generally don’t enthuse about how wonderful infrastructure can be – until it goes missing.
Arts infrastructure has similar functions: it gives young people the chance to learn and progress; it provides opportunities for people to experience cultural richness on a scale that would have been impossible if the only resources they had access to was an out of tune upright piano in the parlour. Without artistic infrastructure, civic health and well being would be unimaginable.
We’d soon know the importance of arts infrastructure if it disappeared overnight. Auditoria would be empty; libraries a thing of the past and you’d only be able to remember 3 tunes on your upright piano which you’d play over and over again. You’d go mad, and you’d take everyone with you.
So that’s what organisations like The Mighty Creatives do. They fill your theatres, open doors to knowledge and experience and stop you driving yourself bonkers with inept renditions of Scott Joplin’s Maple Leaf Rag.
It’s not a sexy job but someone has to be the cultural architects, planners and engineers of the future. That’s a pretty romantic thing to aspire to.