The 2011 UK Arts Index Report
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National Campaign for the Arts
1 Kingly Street
Contact: Selina Mehra – 020 7287 3777
31st March 2011
CUTS TO ARTS COUNCIL ENGLAND PORTFOLIO WEAKEN THE SECTOR AND GROWTH AND OPPORTUNITIES…….
Following on from today’s funding announcements by Arts Council England, the National Campaign for the Arts is concerned that the public now has even fewer opportunities across the country to enjoy and benefit from the arts.
Samuel West, NCA Board member, said: “We predicted that there would be blood on the carpet and there is. The Arts Council has had some very difficult decisions to make, and has been fair and open in impossible circumstances. But the government must understand the consequences of a 30% cut to the arts budget together with a 28% cut to local authority funding. The arts are being squeezed on all sides.
We're looking today at the results of a cut of £100m to Arts funding. That's just 10% of the figure awarded in bonuses to RBS bankers this year. Bonuses, not salaries. To a company which this year made a £1.1bn loss, and is 84% owned by us.
The creative industries are the second most profitable sector this country has. But for how much longer? The impact of these cuts will be greatest on the smaller organisations, particularly in the regions and rural areas. These are the organisations that help provide the lifeblood of our great national institutions. Cut support to those lower down the pyramid and eventually those at the top will starve.”
NCA’s membership reaches across the arts sector and the following organisations, representing members in music, dance, theatre and the visual arts have also commented:
Mark Pemberton of the Association of British Orchestras said: “Today’s announcement that all orchestras, ballet and opera companies who were previously supported by Arts Council England will have their funding renewed is a welcome show of confidence in the sector. The Association of British Orchestras has consistently made the case for sustained public investment in orchestras, to allow them to innovate,and to be creative in attracting new audiences and new investment from other sources and today’s announcement shows that this has been understood. Of course we recognise that the financial situation will remain extremely tough for many orchestras and other arts forms. It will therefore be crucial that orchestras continue to build partnerships with other art forms and institutions.
“At the same time, the ABO itself is disappointed that the reduction in resources available to Arts Council England along with the pressure to prioritise front line services has resulted in its own funding being cut and a significant reduction in the funding of Orchestras Live. The role of a strong infrastructure to support the front line cannot be overestimated, and the ABO has long been the centre for shared learning, advocacy and advice for the UK’s professional orchestras. This role will be even more vital as orchestras continue to seek alternative sources of income and forge new partnerships. We will be doing all we can to continue this work and will also be collaborating closely with the Musicians’ Union to help orchestras manage the transition.”
Caroline Miller of Dance UK said: “The Arts Council England cuts are one of a number of blows to the dance sector, along with cuts to higher and further education budgets, local authority arts funding, and reductions to the number of student and working visas for the most talented international dancers and students who want to come to the UK. All of these cuts taken together threaten the phenomenal success of dance in Britain.
“The April 2010 Arts Council England review of its Regularly Funded Organisations (RFO’s) showed that dance is the fastest growing art form with ACE’s dance portfolio increasing its attendances by 103% over 12 months. For any sector – be it business or arts – this would have been the moment to invest in dance to build on this success.”
We understand that Arts Council England is in a difficult position with 14.9% less grant in aid funds to distribute, but we urge them and the Government to increase funding again in the arts as soon as they can.”
Charlotte Jones of the Independent Theatre Council said: “We broadly applaud the priority given to frontline and creative work by Arts Council England and believe that the process itself was fairly done. We are however concerned about rural touring losing work in areas that are already under served. We would have liked to have seen more bravery from Arts Council England in terms of funding for the RSC and the larger opera houses, as we believe that they could have taken a bigger hit. This is particularly clear as we look at some of the smaller organisations who continue to remain resourceful in the face of significantly reduced funds in some cases.”
“We are also pleased and heartened by the excitement and enthusiasm coming from the 110 new additions to the portfolio. It would appear that following today’s announcement 25 of our ITC members originally on the portfolio have been unsuccessful in their applications. ITC have been in touch with these members to provide support. We will continue to support the Arts Council England strategy into the future.”
Hilary Gresty of the Visual Arts and Galleries Association (VAGA) said: “We are pleased to see uplifts to many galleries and visual arts organisations across the country particularly to those that have been hit by reductions in local funding; we are concerned about the number of smaller scale artist led experimental and new media organisations which have been cut. There are some odd decisions in rural areas and with regard to the all important networking and support bodies. We look forward to learning how the Arts Council will work with the arts community to fill the many gaps that have been left where people will have seriously fewer opportunities to experience the visual arts.”
David Brownlee of Audiences UK, commenting on the national policy decision to cease funding Audience Development Agencies as part of its core portfolio said this: “‘The rationale for this blanket decision is hard to understand given the priority given to increasing and broadening audiences in the Arts Council's strategy for the next ten years and the excellent assessments of the proposals submitted by many of the agencies. Arts organisations receive more funding from their audiences than any other source and we have seen audience numbers continue to grow in the last three years, despite the recession. We believe long-term investment in the audience development infrastructure has helped the sector to weather the financial storm so far.”
“It also seems strange at a time when Arts Council England is taking on a broader cultural remit to threaten the sustainability of an internationally renowned support structure that is already working effectively with museums and beginning to help tackle the major issues facing Library Services.
‘We are heartened to see a public commitment has been made to allocating strategic Lottery funds to support Audience Development, although we are not clear about the amount allocated and believe this area should be treated as a priority for core Treasury funding and not as an area of 'additionality' funded by Lottery ticket buyers. However we will do all we can to help Arts Council England ensure the needs of current and future audiences remain a priority and that the cultural sector has the skilled support that will help them understand and grow their audiences in these financially challenging times.”
We fully support the comments made by NCA members from across the arts sector and share their concerns about smaller organisations, touring and the local authority cuts. The NCA will continue to work with all those in the arts sector, including those who were unsuccessful in their applications, to continually support the provision of arts to the public.
Notes to editors:
1. For further information please contact the NCA, 1 Kingly Street, London W1B 5PA. Telephone: 020 7287 3777. Fax: 020 7287 4777. Email email@example.com. Website: www.artscampaign.org.uk
For further information from the Association of British Orchestras (ABO) or for further comment, please contact Melissa Milner: firstname.lastname@example.org 020 7793 4035 / 07976 636 228
For further information from Dance UK please contact email@example.com or 020 7713 0730
For further information from the Independent Theatre Council please contact Charlotte Jones firstname.lastname@example.org or on 020 7403 1727
For further information from the Visual Arts and Galleries Association please contact Hilary Gresty email@example.com
For further information from Audiences UK or for further comment please contact Gerry Wall or David Brownlee at Audiences UK on 08456 809 246.
2. The National Campaign for the Arts (NCA) is the UK’s only independent lobbying organisation representing all the arts. It provides a voice for the arts world in all its diversity. It seeks to safeguard, promote and develop the arts and win public and political recognition for the importance of the arts as a key element in our national culture.
3. The NCA is also running the I Value the Arts campaign which has attracted support from across the sector including over 20,295 direct signups on the campaign’s website, over 6,000 ‘likes’ on Facebook and over 11,000 people supporting the campaign on Twitter via the use of a campaign Twibbon. For more information about I Value the Arts, visit: www.ivaluethearts.org.uk
“15% CUTS TO FRONTLINE ARTS BETTER THAN FEARED, BUT CONCERNS REMAIN” - NCA DIRECTOR, LOUISE DE WINTER
In the light of impending cuts to public spending across the UK, it is essential that artists and organisations maximise their fundraising potential by knowing what funding is available, from where and, crucially, when the delaines for applications are.