So I saw online that you are asking some question about the importance of art…

What is it all about, and come to think of it, what are you all about?


Three years ago, eight UK art galleries started a journey towards a new and uncertain future. They wanted to find out how they could be more interesting to young people. As art galleries use tax money to buy and display art, its right that everyone gets a fair chance to see it. Some of these galleries were already putting on special events for young people, some already had groups of young people who were telling the gallery how to be more interesting to young people. So these galleries pooled together all their knowledge and set out on a mission to find out how to make a difference for 15-25 year olds. This mission is called Circuit.

This involved a fair amount of research – but instead of just reading texts and theory, they wanted to test out the ideas presented. That’s what’s been going on – eight galleries, working with loads of young people, investigating how to change the way young people think about art galleries, how to change the way art galleries think about young people, how to make some kind of positive change in the world for young people, and how art galleries can team together with other organisations working with young people.

From the start, Circuit galleries wanted and believed in three things:

  • That art galleries should do everything they can to reach out to young people.
  • That this would all be a failure if they didn’t reach out to young people of all backgrounds.
  • That they should pass the power over to young people and support them to do what they want with the art gallery.

Now, in the final year of this research programme, Circuit is looking for more answers. We’re hoping to get 10,000 responses to the question Are ‘the arts’ important? Why so – or why not?

Some amazing people have helped us out by sharing the question, and we are waiting excitedly to hear from you. It’s difficult to know what you will do with the answer to a question you haven’t asked yet, but we are totally committed to using our research to actually change things. That might mean that if lots of people say the arts are not important because it’s boring to just stand and look at a painting, we will set up art parties that bring paintings to life. It might mean that if lots of people say that music is important but sculpture isn’t, we will focus on making gigs happen in galleries. It might mean that if lots of people say art is really important because it gives you a new viewpoint that makes life more interesting, we will go and tell the government that thousands of young people say so and want more art everywhere.

We promise not to use your name or social media handle without your permission. We promise to use what you say to try and spark change. So let us know in the comments below or using hashtag #WhyArt on social… Are ‘the arts’ important? Why so – or why not?


Join the conversation on Twitter.

See some of the responses on Instagram.