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Culture vultures flock to London in new survey

PUBLISHED: 12:20 14 March 2008 | UPDATED: 13:07 05 October 2010

Mayor Livingstone (left) with Old Vic's Kevin Spacey at the culture fund launch

Mayor Livingstone (left) with Old Vic's Kevin Spacey at the culture fund launch

LONDON has come out on top as the world s culture capital in a survey of five major global cities. We re doing better for the arts than New York, Paris, Tokyo and Shanghai, according to a first-ever international cultural audit.

By Mike Brooke

LONDON has come out on top as the world's 'culture capital' in a survey of five major global cities.

We're doing better for the arts than New York, Paris, Tokyo and Shanghai, according to a first-ever international 'cultural audit.'

London is ahead on many indicators, from 'high art' to popular culture, with more museums, galleries, theatres, music venues and cinemas, the 'quantitative comparison' survey by the London Development Agency has revealed.

The findings brought out all the 'good and the great' to City Hall this week, when the Mayor announced a £1.4 million fund to develop new projects to keep its creative edge.

The fund set up by the Development Agency with the Arts Council is for projects to help maintain London's place at the top of the international artistic pole in the run up to the 2012 Olympics.

Mayor Ken Livingstone said at the launch: "The eyes of the world are on London in the next four years, giving us a unique opportunity to show off the rich, creative talents that flourish here.

"But support is needed for smaller artistic organisations to bring their work to life and reach out to different communities."

Fears have been raised about the future of small and medium-size music venues.

Livingstone pointed out last year's closure of Spitz venue as an example, which was unable to meet rising costs in the Spitalfields 'city fringe' district, despite even his support.

The audit shows the impact that 'diversity' has on world cities. London comes out top on festivals with 200 staged each year.

By 2005, some 12 per cent of all London workers were employed in the creative sector, adding £20 billion to its output, according to the audit.

It had 550,000 creative jobs, a quarter of the UK total, including 54 per cent of the nation's broadcasting, 42 per cent of its film and video industry, 40 per cent and 36 per cent of its publishing and advertising, 33 per cent of its music and performing arts and 23 per cent of all British fashion.

Among 'the good and the great' at City Hall for the launch of the fund was Kevin Spacey, artistic director of the Old Vic, who said: "London is a remarkable city with an incredible vitality that is hard to match.

"Hosting the Olympics in 2012 is an opportunity not just for sport, but for culture."

Writer and broadcaster Bonnie Greer, whose musical Marilyn and Ella is currently running at East London's Theatre Royal Stratford, said: "One of the things that drew me to London was the incredible range and vitality of the arts and culture that are available here."

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This is what London has to offer, compared to other 'world' cities:

184 museums (Paris 157, New York 91)

55 major theatres (New York 39, Shanghai 19)

New York may have more major concert halls, 19 compared to our 12, but London stages more performances each year, 32,300 against the Big Apple's 22,200.

The full survey can be downloaded online from:

www.lda.gov.uk or

www.london.gov.uk

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