Boris didn't write "Cultural Metropolis: The Mayor’s Priorities for Culture 2009 - 2012" like he did his transport strategy, but he did get to pen a crazy foreword, scraping his own personal dictionary to extol our funkapolitan* museums and digging the "cosmopolitan, multilingual polychromatic vibe" of London's streets.
Verbal inventiveness aside, the meaty priorities on the cultural slab are improving access and provision for those living in the outer boroughs and improving arts and music education for young people. The indiscriminate use of Trafalgar Square for celebratory shebangs is under review and a new citywide celebration planned for next summer, "The Story of London". Capitalising on 2012 is a key theme as is the desire that funders should "hold their nerve" in the face of the current economic climate and keep supporting arts and culture projects to maintain our unparalleled "breadth of culture" and reputation for excellence.
Refreshingly, credit where credit is due: Ken gets praise for "taking this sector seriously" during his tenure.
There's a stellar cast populating the Cultural Strategy Group behind all this, perhaps why such sensitive issues as Arts Council box ticking, excessive bureaucracy for small cultural organisations and the perils of pigeonholing 'ethnic' artists get well acknowledged here. While of course Boris will champion cultural investment in the outer boroughs where he was so well supported during the Mayoral elections, it's also really good news for local arts organisations who could normally not compete with the powerhouses in the centre of town.
You can download & feedback on Cultural Metropolis. The GLA are consulting on the document until 30 January 2009.
*first use of "funkapolitan" by Mayor Johnson recorded in Londonist's archive 23/07/08