Fine Arts Could Use Some Color

Black author laments lack of company at music, theater events
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 5, 2008 12:17 PM CST
The Royal Albert Hall in London, site of the BBC Proms. A comment by the UK culture minister has set off a debate on race and classical music.   ((c) dearbarbie)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – Britain's culture minister set off a row about high culture and national identity this week in castigating a popular series of classical music concerts for failing to attract a multiethnic audience. For Candace Allen, an African-American author living in London, the debate is more than theoretical: while classical music can be life-affirming, it's tougher to appreciate with white audience members staring at you.

Writing in the Guardian, Allen says that "all too often, non-white audience members can be counted on one hand." It'll take exposure of all social classes to all registers of art—high and low—to make audiences more diverse. Only then, Allen writes, will the stares she feels become "increasingly a thing of the past, like smallpox or second-hand smoke."