James McAvoy: “Art in education is at an all time low”

As he launches a scholarship fund in Scotland, actor James McAvoy warns about the threats to arts education.

With the UK government set to make even further cuts to arts funding, Scottish actor James McAvoy has set up a fund in his home country to help give children from poorer backgrounds access to the kinds of art education that many comprehensive schools are being forced to get rid of.

Speaking to BBC’s The One Show, he said:

“Art in education is at an all time low right now. I don’t think acting itself is elitist, I just think the only fresh meat the acting industry is getting at the moment is from private schools because the other schools don’t have any time or any money to spend on art. It sounds touchy-feely… but honestly, if you want social mobility and you want your kid to have a better life than you had, art is really important. I don’t really mind if acting is for the posh actors… but I do worry about a country in which the government doesn’t allow everyone, across the board, to have access to an education that also includes art… because art is the one thing that if you don’t have money will help you see beyond your horizons and see beyond your limitations. Art is the thing that stops you going ‘Oh I’m only meant to be here’ and ‘I’m only doing what I’m told’ and ‘I’m only good enough for this. The easiest way to keep your society static and reduce social mobility is to get rid of art.”

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