UK misses out on €100m Creative Europe boost

20 Jan 2022

A bumper budget has been passed for 2022 - but the UK won't see hardly a penny.

Free to speak? Not if you work in the arts

A photo of statues of angels, one with a gag over its mouth
20 Feb 2020

As ArtsProfessional unveils the explosive findings from its recent Freedom of Expression survey, Liz Hill examines the soul of a sector that believes it is owed artistic freedom but doesn’t tolerate freedom of speech within its own ranks.

Key Theatre saved by Selladoor

19 Jan 2022

Peterborough's Key Theatre has been saved by Selladoor, which operates the local New Theatre.

The venue closed earlier this week despite attempts by campaigners and the local council to keep it open.

It was Peterborough's only subsidised theatre and a home to Mask Theatre and the Kindred drama group.

The city said Key Theatre was forecast to lose £300,000 per year and that it will "look for different, more cost effective ways to deliver services".

Efforts to find a commercial operator came to fruition on Thursday (January 20), thought the deal is still subejct to final negotiations.

A council spokesperson said aspirations outlined in a new cultural strategy remain.

"We are fully committed to maintaining and improving the city’s cultural offer, however our budget position may challenge this work.  

"We will face some difficult decisions going forwards and we have to be realistic in our ambitions until we are operating in a financially stable way."

Metro seeks artists to decorate fleet

19 Jan 2022

A "unique opportunity" to create art that will be seen by millions is on offer in North East England.

Tyne and Wear Metro operator Nexus is commissioning artists to create large-scale works for the inside of its 46-train fleet.

Project grant funding from Arts Council England (ACE) has enabled what is believed to be a world first - a permanent commission within a new train.

"This is a great opportunity for a number of different artists to produce exciting work reflecting the heritage and diversity of the region," ACE Director North Jane Tarr commented.

Applications close February 28.

Dorset offers capital grants for arts and culture

18 Jan 2022

Dorset Council is offering up to £25,000 for cultural redevelopment projects benefitting the local community.

The Capital Leverage Fund aims to "support community and cultural organisations to deliver capital projects which provide new and improved facilities for our communities and residents".

It specifies that arts organisations, museums and public artworks are eligible for funding.

Projects must contribute to one of four priorities in Dorset's Cultural Strategy: community, environment, economy and a cultural county.

The fund is open to not-fot-profit organisations with an annual turnover of less than £1m.

Progress in campaign to save Thurrock theatre

17 Jan 2022

Community groups may soon be able to take over a theatre at risk of closure.

Thurrock Council has changed its position on selling the Thameside Complex, which contains a library, museum and Thameside Theatre.

It now says handing the theatre over to campaigners is the best option.

Sam Byrne of the Save Your Thameside Campaign said "we have a long way to go".

"We are pleased that the people of Thurrock's voices have been heard. However, this is not a done deal by any means.

"If the community were able to take the Thameside Complex on, the financial support from the council for this transformational project would have to be right to ensure its success."

ACE to mandate social class reporting on audiences

13 Jan 2022

The Culture Secretary has asked the Arts Council to collect the data and consider NPOs' "track record" when they apply for funding. 

Wales adds £10m in emergency funding

12 Jan 2022

The Welsh Government has made another £10.1m of Culture Recovery Fund money available to organisations affected by recent restrictions.

The £15.4m scheme, which includes £5.25m in winter stability funding, is open for applications via the Arts Council of Wales today (January 12).

Events are currently capped at 30 people indoors and 50 outdoors, two metres' social distancing is required in public and where possible at work, and the rule of six applies to any group visiting a theatre, gallery, museum or cinema.

Eligibility for the fund hinges on demonstrating a financial loss since December. The arts council's Chair Phil George acknowledged arts organisations "are facing a period of serious financial challenge".

"We are determined to ensure that arts and cultural organisations who play a key role in the wellbeing of communities across Wales will be able to bring solace, delight and vision as we struggle with the pandemic and as we recover and rebuild. The need for this support has obviously become even more urgent as a result of the impact of the Omicron variant.”

New foundation to fund international residencies

12 Jan 2022

A new foundation will focus on facilitating the international exchange of ideas and practices at the intersection of digital art and traditional media.  

Sigg Art Foundation, launched by Swiss collector Pierre Sigg, has already run preliminary residencies in the south of France and has exchanges taking place in Saudi Arabia this month.

“The first residency was so inspirational that I started thinking bigger, wanting to continue to find ways to open up a dialogue between artists working in connected fields around the world. Hence the concept for the foundation was born: a way of linking the residencies and collection that could keep growing, organically,” Sigg said.

Sacha Guedj-Cohen, an independent curator, has been recruited as the foundation's Director. She will help artists in the growing field of digital art to undertake physical and conceptual projects investigating the relationship between traditional and virtual art.



ACNI opens £40k digital art fund

12 Jan 2022

A new funding opportunity supporting digital art is live in Northern Ireland.

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland’s (ACNI) Organisations Digital Evolution Awards is aimed at those making digital art for the first time or working with digital technology they have not used previously.

Organisations can apply for grants of up to £10,000, with £40,000 available in total. Applications are open until February 14, with decisions expected by April 4.

Applicants are encouraged to contact the council's Creative Industries Officer if they wish to discuss the eligibility of their project concepts.

“This programme reflects the arts council’s commitment to encouraging innovative practices that cross artform boundaries and build digital capabilities within the Northern Ireland arts sector,” Chief Executive Roisin McDonough said.

Exclusive: £429m Levelling Up funding goes to culture

12 Jan 2022

One quarter of grants are intended for cultural projects, new data finds, as MPs launch an inquiry into cultural placemaking.

Council restores grant to arts funding body

11 Jan 2022

Worcester City Council has restored direct funding for the arts following a campaign by the Worcester Arts Council.

The local authority gave a £3,000 annual grant to the council until 2018, when it decided instead to run a community grants scheme in house.

It has now returned to funding Worcester Arts Council with the support of city council Chief Executive David Blake and council leader Marc Bayliss.

Worcester Arts Council estimates 5,000 people benefitted from its small grants programme in the year preceding the pandemic.

“I am delighted that Worcester Arts Council can once again support local arts organisations," Chairman George Squires said.

City to lose its only subsidised theatre

11 Jan 2022

Peterborough has received more than £1m in Culture Recovery Fund grants but says it "cannot operate services that generate a financial deficit and expect our communities to accept it".

£8m freelancers' fund to open in Scotland

05 Jan 2022

The cover for cancelled work is part of £65m in support for the arts announced in recent weeks. What's available in the rest of the UK?

Essex opens £1m arts fund

05 Jan 2022

Essex County Council has opened a £1m arts and culture fund for applications.

Artists and arts organisations can apply for between £2,500 and £30,000, with decisions expected late March.

Applicants should explain how they contribute to Everyone's Essex, the four-year plan for the area's creative sector.

The council says Essex's creative sector was the third largest in the UK pre-pandemic, contributing an estimated £2.6bn.


Preston seeks £585k for gallery upgrade

05 Jan 2022

£585,000 is being sought to upgrade The Harris in Preston.

Preston City Council plans to ask Arts Council England to part fund Harris Your Place, its £10m refurbishment programme. £4.5m has already been recieved from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

The museum, art gallery and library needs new lighting, signage, heating and ventilation, the council says.

Works would allow the building to host larger exhibitions and loans from major institutions.


Inequity in funding decisions

trust graphic
05 Jan 2022

Funding ‘criteria’ tell you what a funder will or won’t support, but organisational ‘constraints’ ultimately determine what gets funded, says Kevin Osborne.  

Open letter from an NPO

DCMS sign
05 Jan 2022

On 15 December Nadine Dorries wrote to all Arts Council England’s NPOs about measures to increase access to the arts. It was distributed by ACE. An anonymous NPO replies.

Sector awaits post-Christmas guidance after 'inadequate' CRF boost

crowd waits infront of an empty theatre stage
22 Dec 2021

The Culture Recovery Fund top-up is branded “bizarrely detached from reality” as the sector awaits details of further Covid measures.

1,500 organisations rejected in second Culture Recovery Fund round

17 Dec 2021

More than a third of applicants to the second round of the Culture Recovery Fund (CRF) were unsuccesful.

Arts Council England (ACE), which has now administered seven rounds of emergency support, declined requests from ArtsProfessional for the success rate for the £262m second round after 578 organisations - nearly a third of applicants - were rejected in the first.

However, minutes from a National Council meeting in March, published November 30, reveal 3,831 organisations bid for support in CRF round two.

Altogether, 2,277 organisations were given funding, making the success rate for this round about 59%. The success rate for round one was 70%.

ACE says it plans to release application numbers and success rates once all of the CRF has been allocated.


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