Culture is a priority in Wales and can help to heal the divisions within society that were highlighted by this year’s EU referendum.
That was the message from Economy Secretary, Ken Skates as he published ‘Light Springs through the Dark - a Vision for Culture in Wales’ which sets out his ambitions for Culture in Wales during this Assembly Term.
The statement reinforces the importance of the arts, music, literature and heritage in Welsh life.
It has been developed to promote debate around the role of culture in Welsh society, to encourage innovative thinking and bright ideas, and to unite efforts to extract maximum value from Government investment in culture.
The Economy Secretary said:
‘Light Springs through the Dark: A Vision for Culture in Wales’ outlines my ambitions for culture in this Assembly term. We already know that culture enriches our lives, brings people together and improves our wellbeing. Through their work, cultural organisations are also helping to address a range of other challenges.
“Culture is already a big Welsh success story. I want to celebrate our many cultural attractions, our outstanding collections and the vibrant, bilingual offer that our best creative talents are producing.
“But I also want us to build on our success and ensure more people in Wales are compelled to get involved in cultural activities and reap the associated benefits.
“We know culture empowers people. It helps develop confidence, skills and employability and along with being increasingly important to our economy, it also makes a vital contribution to other key areas of public life, including health, education, and regeneration.
“Culture also has a key role to play in uniting our country. The result of the Referendum on EU membership showed that we have a divided society. We need to reconcile divisions, and ensure people feel connected and enfranchised. I believe we can make big progress towards this goal by persuading more people to take part in creative activity.
“We start from a good base on Culture, but we should aim higher. Ultimately I want Wales to be the most creatively active nation in Europe.
“Unless we strive to be creative and active we will never be as healthy, fulfilled or as happy as we could and should be.”
Dr Phil George, Arts Council of Wales Chair added:
“The Cabinet Secretary is right, Culture and the Arts are not a nice-to-have extra or a bit of icing on the cake. They are central to a humane, vibrant and healthy society. In many places the arts are the cement or the glue that helps bind communities together and give citizens of all ages new experiences and skills. They are crucial to the quality of life of people in Wales - they are central and definitive of who we are. We welcome today’s statement and look forward to realising the Government’s Vision for Culture in Wales, engaging even more of the people of Wales in an active and creative involvement with the arts.”
The statement takes its name from the words of poet Dylan Thomas and sets out ways in which the culture sector in Wales, with the right backing and encouragement, can transform lives and communities for the better.
It also lists the actions the Welsh Government intends to take during the Assembly term to support the sector, and the contributions it expects from its partners.