Van Gogh stolen from closed Dutch museum

31 Mar 2020

A prized Van Gogh has been stolen from a Dutch museum closed due to the coronavirus.

Police investigating the theft of the 1884 painting "The Parsonage Garden at Nunen in Spring" from the Singer Laren museum said the thief - or thieves - had to smash a glass door to gain access.

The museum's Director Jan Rudolph de Lorm said the theft is "terrible for us all".

"Art exists to be seen and shared by us, the community, to enjoy to draw inspiration from and to draw comfort from, especially in these difficult times."

550 music venues under 'immediate threat of closure'

31 Mar 2020

Jobs are at risk as 550 grassroots music venues face "immediate threat of closure," the Music Venue Trust said. This represents the potential permanent loss of over 5,000 jobs, over 100,000 concerts, over 300,000 performances and over 1 million temporary employment opportunities for gig economy workers.

The trust is trying to raise £1m to respond "directly and dynamically" to every threatened closure and provide emergency financial support.

It says losses for venues, musicians, production and touring crews will be permanent.

Loyal patrons buy up tickets amid 93% drop in sales

31 Mar 2020

Average daily ticket sales at UK venues are down 93% since the lockdown started on 17 March.

But updated data from TRG Arts and Purple Seven shows "a steep increase in the proportion of tickets being purchased by loyalists," defined as people who have attended a venue three or more times previously.

Ticket sales among this group have grown 43% during the ten days to 26 March.


Purple Seven CEO Stuart Nicolle said "we're seeing that it's not impossible to sell tickets in this market, but the focus of marketing activity must be on specific types of attendees and long-term programming".

"What you do now and how you focus your limited resources will make a major difference to the speed of the sector’s recovery."

Museums' infrastructure is crumbling – literally

30 Mar 2020

As cultural venues sit empty, a national audit finds the UK's museums in dire condition.

Covid-19: Disability top of mind for DCMS

30 Mar 2020

Disabled artists say their safety, security and insight into limited lifestyles are crucial during this crisis. 

Bournemouth pays freelance players

30 Mar 2020

Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra says it will honour freelancers' fees for all cancelled or postponed performances up to 30 April.

The orchestra has lost its summer work at Grange Festival 2020. It will not pay fees for players involved in that: "This work, which is not subject to direct Arts Council funding is therefore dependent on the fee income from Grange."

Survey: Covid-19 to cost artists and managers £68m

30 Mar 2020

The music industry could lose more than £68m if shows are cancelled over the next six months.

A survey by the Music Managers Forum and Featured Artists Coalition indicates more than £50m has already been lost.

The organisations said: "aside from an immediate-term cash-flow crisis, the findings raise grave concerns for the commercial music sector’s longer-term sustainability."

"They signal the need for greater assistance from the UK’s largest music businesses and organisations – especially as Government support measures for the self-employed ... will not pay out until June, and many will not qualify at all."

Victory: sector celebrates pay protection for self-employed

27 Mar 2020

As stopgap measures grow in number, some arts workers will still fall through the cracks.

New BBC fund for independent artists

26 Mar 2020

BBC is inviting artists to apply for funding to create new works for its virtual festival Culture in Quarantine.

The collaboration between the broadcaster and Arts Council England will commission and distribute 25 new works by independent artists.

Director-General Tony Hall says: "It’s important during this period that we maintain access not just to news and information, but to the arts and culture. For many people they are a valuable part of their lives and a way of stimulating imagination, thought, and escapism."

The corporation is inviting applications from organisations or individuals, which can be collaborations between different disciplines. A live link for applications will be posted on BBC channels and interested creatives are invited to apply by April 8. Visit ArtsProfessional CovidCulture for more information.



Royal Ballet drops Scarlett

25 Mar 2020

The Royal Ballet says it won't work with Liam Scarlett despite an independent investigation clearing the choreographer of sexual misconduct.

Allegations against the organisation's former artist-in-residence emerged in January. Royal Ballet said that an investigation concluded "there were no matters to pursue in relation to alleged contact with students of the Royal Ballet School".

But it says it will not work with Scarlett. His position and upcoming performances have been scrapped.


Artist management company folds due to Covid-19

25 Mar 2020

Artist management company Hazard Chase has gone into voluntary liquidation.

A statement from Managing Director James Brown appeared to blame the coronavirus pandemic for the Cambridge and London-based business' failure: "Our artists, staff, director and shareholders are devastated by this sad but inevitable turn of events".

"Our world has been torn apart in less than a month."

Hazard Chase has represented classical music performers in the UK and internationally since 1990.

£160m emergency response package for the arts

24 Mar 2020

Arts Council England has drawn on reserves and Lottery grants to save the sector from an "unsustainable loss of revenues".

Lewisham Borough of Culture delayed until 2022

24 Mar 2020

Lewisham Borough of Culture has been delayed until 2022.

Following discussions with the Greater London Authority, Lewisham's Cultural Development Team has decided "to continue with our preparation at a more conducive time".

"More crucially it will mean that our energy over the next few months can be focussed on supporting vulnerable people through this difficult time."

Mayor Damien Egan said it was important the council focussed on keeping services for vulnerable residentes going at this time.

Brent, which won the title for 2020, will suspend its Borough of Culture programme and continue into 2021.

Sotheby's sales drop 15%

24 Mar 2020

Sales at Sotheby's most recent auction totalled £2.1m, 15% less than at the same auction last year.

The number of lots sold and sold at the high estimate also fell compared to the 2019 event, the auction house said.

"While many online-only sales remain in place, just six live sales at Christie’s and Sotheby’s are set to go ahead in the next two weeks ... these sales are the best indicators of how the market is likely to react to the extraordinary events unfolding around us," Art Market Research notes.

"Auction houses are already accustomed to dealing with the vicissitudes of the art market but as governments grapple to contain the frightening coronavirus, the industry now faces its sternest test."

Arts venue goes into administration

24 Mar 2020

A Halifax arts trust has gone into administration over a funding shortfall.

The Square Chapel Trust, a registered chairty, attracted nearly 100,000 people per year but experienced "significant cash flow difficulties," Administrator Patrick Lannagan said.

"Subsequent to the decision to enter Administration the facilities closed to the public from 17 March for the foreseeable future in response to the Government’s latest advice on Covid-19.

"Our priority is to try to establish whether there are any parties interested in taking forward the Trust’s important ongoing programmes in the community and/or taking over and utilising its facilities.”

Scottish Opera trucks help stock supermarkets

24 Mar 2020

Scottish Opera trucks are being used to keep supermarkets stocked.

With theatres closed, the organisation's drivers have been redeployed. 

One Scottish Opera driver said: "we're all pretty much on our knees so I've had to diversify into other areas".

"Ninety-five per cent of what I'm seeing on the road is supermarket trucks ... These guys are working 24 hours a day, flat out."

Two-thirds of ticket sales turned into donations or credit

24 Mar 2020

New data from ticketing companies shows patrons “want to support the organisations they frequent”.

Covid-19: Model for 50% less income, creative businesses told

24 Mar 2020

Reserves and furloughing are "no guarantee" that further cuts can be avoided.

Museum freelancers to sector: ‘Fight for us’

23 Mar 2020

UK museums, libraries, galleries and archives must “visibly and robustly stand up for freelancers who they frequently depend so greatly on”.

Mounting pressure to protect freelancers' income

23 Mar 2020

Surveys say 70% fear they can't pay the bills, 60% expect their income to halve and 50% have lost all their scheduled work.


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