‘We’re barely hanging on’: England’s cultural jewels fall into the red | Art Funding – cialisdfr
‘We’re barely hanging on’: England’s cultural jewels fall into the red |  Art Funding
‘We’re barely hanging on’: England’s cultural jewels fall into the red |  Art Funding

The majority of England’s largest subsidized cultural institutions are now operating at a loss, including many internationally renowned art venues and brands. Financial figures compiled for a new national lobby group called Culture Makes…, founded by the Cultural Philanthropy Foundation (CPF), have revealed the plight of even theatres, galleries and museums that receive regular government subsidies.

The success of these national gems is generally considered a source of pride. But year-end accounts recently submitted of the 100 organizations that receive the most annual funding from Arts Council England show that 73 reported a loss, averaging around £300,000. Among them are the Royal Shakespeare Company, which dipped several thousand pounds into the red despite a tight budget. While not all of these top places and cultural attractions are actually in debt, some are. And while commercial profitability is not always paramount – as subsidy levels will always be required – many have failed well short of trying to break even.

“It’s been very striking how difficult it is even for these flagship institutions, known as the Arts Council National Portfolio Organisations, especially as they are already pulling all the financial levers available,” said Caroline McCormick, who chairs the CPF and is a lobbyist. which will launch in May with the aim of influencing politics ahead of the next general election. “It’s all so close to the bones now.”

The Swan Theatre, Stratford: even the RSC went into the red last year. Photo: Klára Šimonová/Getty Images

McCormick plans to call for the protection of British culture by demonstrating its importance, countering the idea that it is an optional extra and something to be aspired to only on better days.

“There is no trickle-down effect for the arts,” she said. “Now we know it’s a myth. And there aren’t enough rich people donating, so we can’t rely on arts philanthropy.

The campaign has already won the support of almost 40 cultural organizations and providers, including the RSC, Edinburgh International Festival, Bristol Old Vic, Women’s Prize Trust, Hastings Contemporary, Theater Clwyd, Lyric Theater Belfast, Northern Ballet, Southbank Centre, Picturehouse Cinemas, Talawa Theater Company , National Museums Liverpool and Shakespeare’s Globe.

“Arts and culture have enormous power to transform the lives of all who encounter them,” said RSC Joint Interim Executive Directors Sandeep Mahal and Vicky Cheetham. Observeradding that at a time of economic uncertainty and funding cuts that are already challenging the well-being of people and communities across the country, their company is proud to join Culture Makes….

“This campaign will help build our collective understanding of the economic, creative, social and physical strength that exists in the UK’s cultural sector and will support the case for increasing critical public and private funding to ensure we have a thriving sector of arts and culture it is a beacon to the world,” they said.

The wider crisis in the arts caused by rising costs of living, in addition to real cuts in government funding and the complete loss of some local council grants, is already threatening the existence of smaller provincial organisations. But the effect on larger institutions has also become clear, despite what most acknowledge is the high value of Britain’s thriving creative sector.

Sydney Thornberry, chief executive of the Art House contemporary gallery in Wakefield, said she got involved in the campaign because she saw art creating social benefits and building community. “We bring asylum seekers, refugees and the local community together to create art together, but it also creates relationships and community cohesion and develops new skills and abilities,” she said.

Children enjoy a ceramics workshop at Art House, Wakefield. Photo: The Art House, Wakefield.

“We’ve revitalized near-dead shopping centres, helped small creative businesses to hire their own shops and helped activate networks of local entrepreneurs – all while helping to curb anti-social behaviour, boost local civic pride and create great art. But are we thriving financially? No. We’re barely hanging on – like everyone else in the arts sector at the moment – ​​because we’re perceived and funded as ‘just’ arts organisations.’

McCormick, who is also a director of Achates, an arts fundraising consultancy, pointed out that a report on charitable giving last year showed that arts philanthropy had declined to less than 1% of total giving to first time in over a decade. And the truth, she said, is that the poorest in society give proportionately much more than the rich. The new campaign sees culture as part of the crucial infrastructure of any successful country, let alone one that enjoys British arts and entertainment.

“It’s not about the arts sitting at the top of the pile as something you get into,” McCormick added. “It’s not an elite thing, even if some performers are elite. In fact, it works the other way around. This is the most basic thing on which we must build things. But the arts sector needs to find a new language to communicate this. There is a very big job and someone has to do it.

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