Artists Protest Looming Cuts to United Kingdom Culture Budget

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LONDON (AP).-Some of Britain’s best-known artists launched a campaign Friday to oppose planned government cuts that could slash arts funding by 25 percent. More than 100 artists including David Hockney, Damien Hirst, Anish Kapoor, Antony Gormley and Tracey Emin say they fear deep cuts could hobble the country’s creative economy. Artists including Mark Wallinger and Jeremy Deller rallied outside London’s Tate Modern gallery as part of a campaign that includes an online petition and a video by cartoonist David Shrigley extolling the social and economic benefits of the arts. The flourishing of culture is considered a major achievement of the Labour government that led Britain from 1997 until May of this year. Millions were channeled into cultural institutions from the national lottery and the public purse to fund free museum admissions, the renovation of aging buildings and the construction of new facilities. The new, Conservative-led coalition says most government departments must