Apollo Magazine

Arts Council Funding: Winners and Losers

Which visual arts organisations have seen the biggest changes?

Yesterday, the Arts Council England announced its funding plans for 2015–18, sharing out grants amounting to £340 million per year between a new National Portfolio of 670 organisations, and investing a further £22.6 million in 21 Major Partner Museums. The overall funding remained relatively stable, with National Lottery funds plugging the gap left by government cuts. Most organisations had their funding frozen – but not all. We’ve rounded up some of the biggest winners and losers among the visual arts and museums.

The two biggest cuts in the new portfolio were to London-based visual arts organisations. Iniva (the Institute of International Visual Art), lost 61.1% of its funding, receiving a total grant of £685,032 over the next three years, although its sister organisation Autograph ABP, which shares the building, saw one of the biggest increases (it gets £2.1 million, almost twice what it received from 2012–15). The Arts Catalyst, which commissions projects bridging art and science, saw its share reduced by 51.4% to £390,000.

Elsewhere, the Arnolfini in Bristol lost almost a quarter of its funding, and the Lowry Centre lost out on 20.5% of its allocation, which was reduced to £800,000 a year (although it has received a £3 million capital grant, and also announced the biggest private donation in its history, of £1 million.)

Two major partner museums – Birmingham and Brighton – lost out significantly. Brighton’s Royal Pavilion and Museums will receive just under £3 million over the next three years, down 25.1% on the previous period. Birmingham Museums Trust’s grant of £3,022,704 represents an even larger cut of 39.5%, perhaps reflecting the addition of two new Midlands groups to the museums roster (a partnership between Nottingham and Derby museums, and a coalition including Black Country Living Museum and nearby Coventry).

A major grant of £1,264,251 to Southampton City Council will go towards the development of a new arts complex and its accompanying programme. In Cumbria, Eden Arts saw a big rise of around 150% to £100,000 a year, while Grizedale Arts’ 21.3% increase in funding provided a further boost to the region. Spike Island in Bristol fared far better than the nearby Arnolfini: it’s been allocated £840,000 over the next three years, compared to just under £460,000 for the previous period. The Stanley Picker Gallery at Kingston University also did well. Its £240,000 grant is almost 60% more than the last one.

A number of museums and galleries have been added to the portfolio this year, most significantly the Tyne & Wear Archives and Museums, who join as one of 10 ‘Bridge’ organisations, working to introduce young people to art and culture across the UK. Castlefield Gallery in Manchester, the William Morris Gallery, and the recently relaunched Peckham Space in London, are among the new NPOs, while Hull City Council, Museums Sheffield, and the Penlee House Gallery and Museum join the West and East Midlands museum groups as new major museum partners.

A full list of funding and investments is available on the Arts Council England website.

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