BBC Home
Explore the BBC
BBC News
Launch consoleBBC NEWS CHANNEL
Last Updated: Monday, 8 August, 2005, 16:12 GMT 17:12 UK
Does the Welsh assembly need art?
Wind hedge
One of the artworks in the new assembly building will be a "wind hedge"
A row has broken out over 300,000 spent on four new pieces of modern art for the assembly's new building.

Assembly Tory leader Nick Bourne said the money should be spent on public services and that there was a host of paintings lying in storage at Wales' national museum.

An assembly spokesperson added: "The senedd (parliament) will be a landmark building for the whole of Wales and it's important that the art in the building is also world class."

This talking point has now closed. Here are a selection of comments.

It's important that Wales' civic buildings stand up to similar buildings around the world, and that means quality throughout. But I can't imagine this level of detail or care being paid to a building in mid or north Wales. We would get a bargain basement building from the local council.
Richard, Newtown, Powys

My mother who lives in Wales had a choice. Pay for a knee replacement or wait 18 months IN PAIN. How many knee replacement would 300k cover? It's absurd that these politicians are so remote from reality. They need to get real. What would Aneurin Bevan think?
Dave Owen, Leicester

If you want Cardiff to look a major capital city and the Welsh assembly to look like a body of substance you have to spend this money. Or do you want something that looks like Walsall Town Hall? At 0.5% of the building cost, it doesn't seem bad value, plus it's a sight cheaper than the Scottish Parliament building.
Steve, Newport

Why oh why do we need to buy new art? The museums of this country are stuffed full of great art never seen by the general public. This scandal is however only a small part of a larger problem. The current governing elite appears to be participating in an orgy of profligacy and waste at everyone else's expense. It's sad to say but all this was inevitable when the assembly was created.
Martin Haines, Cardiff

Anything that can distract the eye away from the ugly millennium centre is a good thing. Just a shame that these works cost so much.
Griff, Cardiff, Wales

Priorities! The poverty in the adjacent areas keeps getting swept under the carpet. The bay is now a yuppie playground, but a stone's throw away is extreme poverty!
Frank, South Wales

For 50,000 they could have had my unmade bed!!
Lenny, Bridgend

300,000 isn't a ridiculous price for four pieces of art. Are there other things they could spend the money on? Absolutely. Might many of those things be more important than decorating the Assembly chamber? Very likely. But though the money could be better spent, I don't believe it's poorly spent.
Caroline, Newport, Wales

Recently I have read that there are plans for some hospital clinics to be closed, beds to be cut because they have to meet a 6m deficit, yet the assembly will waste money on art instead of using it for the NHS, health is far more important
Ian, Neath

A total and utter waste of money. It would be better spent on dentists for rural communities, regeneration of disadvantaged areas, public transport, or a few more bobbies on the beat - to name but a few of Wales's more pressing needs.

The public taxpayer wants services and not eye candy
Craig Farquhar

What value 'image' if politics are non-existent ?
Medwyn, Aberystwyth

Sadly it typifies the arrogance of politicians who have no wish to understand that they owe a duty of care to those who elected them.
Ian, Swansea

No it does not need 300k of art, but that won't stop the AMs voting it through! After all, it's not their money is it?
Colin, Bleanavon

I'm amazed that these elected members find it so easy to justify 'world class' art and not give the same priority to the smaller things in life, like health and education services, to name but two. They really do not live on the same planet as most people.
Gerwyn Thomas, Vale of Glamorgan

Does the Assembly need art? Check out the disaster that will be their new 'Strategy for The Creative Industries"; I think they need as much art as the Welsh can afford and then maybe foolish politicians may have an idea what it means to support art in Wales - they clearly haven't the faintest thus far.
Eddie, Cardiff

Can the MPs explain how wasting, sorry wisely spending, money on this modern art in Cardiff will benefit those of us living in north Wales, who may never even see it?
Richard, Porthmadog

The public taxpayer wants services and not eye candy.
Craig Farquhar, Cardiff

A ridiculous and disgusting waste of money! The question we should be asking is why they are continually allowed to get away with this lavish unjustified spending. It's about time we stood up to the useless "old boys network" that pretend to govern our country.
Jo, Cardiff

Slate sculpture (Pic from Welsh assembly)
Wales is too often portrayed as a back water and spending some money on some truly inspirational modern art can only serve to address that
Hannah James

As an artist living in Wales with many friends who are artists, the other down-side of this issue for me is the extremely small clique of artists from which such new public works are drawn. The Arts Council and various other bodies in Wales are nothing more than a closed shop to most artists. I am sure that one of the many community art projects operating all over Wales could have treated the art for the Assembly as a project that would have ended up costing us all far less.
Alfie Goodrich, Monmouth, Wales

Art is a very important element of the life of a new building, however, with many national (Welsh & UK) pieces of art not on display, and new artists not having areas to show piece their art, this would have provided an ideal opportunity to showcase new Welsh (or UK) talent. (This could be at no or minimal cost, or covering its own costs through selling of the local art work.) Alternatively showing the national treasures and past history in a new building that is making its own history would be an ideal, cost effective and less controversial approach.
James Steven, Edinburgh

That 300,000 could go towards more dentists that are desperately needed. Oh well. I suppose the elected members need something to look at while many people suffer with toothache.
Christian H, Ruthin

Art or NHS? I know what I'd spend the money on! If they want art they should pay for it from their salary!
Alister Troup, Aberdeen

World class art. Third class politicians. You people who voted for this farce have got a lot to answer for. Any chance that people who voted 'No' could be exempted from paying for it?
Rob, Cardiff

Yes, but at 300,000! I think not. The assembly needs to remember who it is serving and how far behind the Welsh economy is compared to the rest of the UK.
Mark Jones, Swansea

I am in favour of this spend. I took some friends from London to Cardiff Bay at the weekend, and was truly proud to show off my city. The new assembly building is the final piece of the jigsaw. Wales is too often portrayed as a back water, and spending some money on some truly inspirational modern art can only serve to address that. Go for it!
Hannah James, UK

I don't feel they need to have such expensive frivolities paid for by the taxpayer. What will happen to these paintings in a few years time when they are no longer in the headlines? They will probably ultimately end up in some AM's 500,000 house, adorning the landing wall or in the hallway, and no one will miss them. One must ask, what is the point?
John Smith, Cardiff

How can you call that art? It looks like sheets of green glass to me. Another big waste of money - 55m on a building, 300,000 on so-called art, when is it going to stop? It's obvious the assembly thinks it important. Waste money rather than spend it wisely, eg the NHS. If they had asked the people of Wales about the new building they know the majority would have said No
Ian, Neath

I am sick to death of the pompous posturing of many assembly members; this seems another example of it, and a damned expensive one at that.
Tim, Aberystwyth

A great deal of money has been spent making sure that Cardiff Bay has buildings fit for a modern city. It is therefore only right, that the interiors receive the same attention to detail, with artwork of a similar standard. My children and I appreciate the art that has been placed around the bay, it always provokes discussion and increases our enjoyment when we visit. I hope that the new Welsh assembly building will be open for inspection, so that we may enjoy that too.
Christine Davis, Newport


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


News Front Page | World | UK | England | Northern Ireland | Scotland | Wales | Politics
Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health | Education
Have Your Say | Magazine | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific