Cultural infrastructure - the key to sustainable cities?

(Image above from the London Lumiere Festival, courtesy of the GLA)

'Museums cannot solve all the social problems of our cities...' stated Tate Director, Stephen Wingfield, speaking about the value of cultural infrastructure in cities, at our London City Hall forum this week.

'Funding is always a major issue, and we could always spend it several times over with the amount of ideas coming through the organisation. We do the big popular shows, and we work with big business, but we are going to do a big project with film director Steve McQueen, bringing in 600 school kids a day through Tate Britain over 6 months, and it is going to cost us a lot of money to bring in as many children who wouldn't normally get to visit an art gallery or even come to central London.

'We are prioritising that over other things but we think it's really important, and we have put in the big fund raising events to pay for it.' Tate has invited every Year 3 class in London to take part in creating the largest group portrait ever made, with a Tate photographer visiting schools to take portrait shots for the artist to make an artwork which will sit at the heart of the nation's collection.'