Ethical trouble at the top

02 Feb 2022

Day-to-day news is littered with questions over ethics. We care deeply about rights and wrongs. But Michelle Wright asks, do the arts care more than other sectors? 

Engaging young wealthy donors: heartstrings before purse strings

02 Jun 2021

Recent research provides insights to building lifetime relationships with the funders of the future. Lisa Rose outlines the main findings.

Lottery supporting artists and live music launches

18 May 2022

A lottery designed to support independent artists within the music industry has launched.

Established by artist management company Orean, Music Lotto distributes at least 50p from every £1 ticket to support the future of the music industry and help the next generation of artists.

Orean CEO Adrian Norman described it as a project “born out of passion”. 

“Grants can be applied for if an artist needs a new instrument, some studio time or budget for a music video,” he said. 

“Our team of experts will review applications and give grants away after each draw. The more tickets bought, the more we can support talent.”



Comparing apples to oranges

image of a light bulb
17 May 2022

Arts organisations increasingly use data to inform their decision making. But, argue David Johnson and Sarah Thelwall, if it’s not relevant, it risks being distracting, or even misleading.

The ticket levy

Studio Liverpool's Royal Court
11 May 2022

Using a ticket levy as part of a capital campaign can generate much needed funds. Lucy Costelloe argues the benefits.

Theatr Clwyd refurb gets £3.3m boost

05 May 2022

Theatr Clwyd's ongoing refurbishment has been supported by a series of major private funders.

The theatre received £1.5m from The Moondance Foundation, £500,000 from The Wolfson Foundation, £500,000 from the Garfield Weston Foundation, as well as £500,000 from an anonymous local philanthropist, all to be put towards major works on its 46-year-old Grade II-listed building.

It also received £300,000 from the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation to continue community work during the build.

The donations follow a £22m pledge from the Welsh Government in March. The theatre has now received gifts exceeding the previous highest amount ever raised by a Welsh theatre.

Liam Evans-Ford, Theatr Clwyd’s Executive Director said: “When we started on this capital journey in 2017 we were told it was unlikely we would raise more than £2m of private investment for a theatre in Wales. 

"Due to the generous support of these lead funders we have already reached £3m. This is an empowering vote of confidence for Theatr Clwyd, our values, the quality of our theatre making, and our deeply important community work."

Royal Academy of Music receives £6m donation

03 May 2022

The Gatsby Charitable Foundation is gifting £6m to the Royal Academy of Music, the single biggest donation in the institution's 200-year history.

The money will fund the Gatbsy Chair of Musical Theatre, the first fully-funded endowed chair at any UK conservatoire.

Two further anonymous donations are funding the Dame Myra Hess Chair of Piano and the William Lawes Chair of Chamber Music.

The three endowed chairs boost the launch of the Academy’s bicentenary campaign, which aims to raise £60m to invest into facilities, staff retention and funding future musicians.

Academy Principal Jonathan Freeman-Attwood said the donations are “a truly wonderful start” to the bicentenary.

“The Academy’s bicentenary affords us the opportunity to future-proof the values which have defined our work since 1822 while offering a transformational set of opportunities for talent to thrive, regardless of background.”

£4m funding opportunity for museums and galleries

17 Mar 2022

Museums and galleries in England are encouraged to apply to the DCMS/Wolfson Fund, opening May 9.

The partners have each contributed £2m to the fund on its 20th anniversary.

Grants are available to up to 370 eligible institutions who want to enhance display and interpretation or otherwise improve access to collections.

Arts Minister Stephen Parkinson called the scheme "a brilliant example of what can be achieved when public funding and private philanthropy come together".

Beware the Captain Tom trap

15 Mar 2022

In implementing the levelling up agenda, the arts should pay attention to some worrying news on the legacy of Captain Tom, writes Michelle Wright.

Where are the red lines on ethical fundraising?

protestors campaign against Shell's sponsorship of the Science Museum
02 Feb 2022

In recent years, as climate change has intensified, so has controversy around fossil fuel funding. Chris Garrard says we must learn from our leading museums’ mistakes.

Cinema crowdfunder hopes to prevent permanent closure

10 Jan 2022

The Electric Palace is facing permanent closure if a community appeal doesn't raise enough funds for it to reopen.

The independent cinema in Hastings received support from the BFI Cultural Support Fund at the start of the pandemic, but has since struggled with Covid related cancellations.

Co-Founder and Director Rebecca Marshall said it was forced to close through January as Omicron meant bookings and venue hire hit "an all time low".

A crowdfunding campaign hopes to generate enough funds to reopen the venue to reopen during its 20th anniversary year.

"We are a not-for-profit community interest company with a small team of part-time staff and 30 dedicated and brilliantly passionate volunteers... Without your support we will not be able to reopen the cinema," Marshall added.

ACE launches private investment survey

08 Dec 2021

The next official survey of private investment in the cultural sector will help organisations to become more effective fundraisers, Arts Council England says.

The funder has called on not-for-profit organisations to take part in the research, which will consider the varied impact of Covid-19 on donations and sponsorship.

"Some organisations have benefited hugely from the generosity of loyal donors in their hour of need, while others have struggled to maintain levels of fundraising, let alone develop them further," Chair Nicholas Serota wrote.

The last survey in 2019 found individuals, trusts, foundations and businesses were giving £545m to cultural organisations.

Organisations have been encouraged to contribute to this year's, not only to help the arts council but also to think about their own business planning.

"There are examples from across the country that show how organisations of all sizes can build sustained and fruitful relationships with every kind of donor," Serota added.

£6.5m works to restore sculptors' society home

23 Nov 2021

The Royal Society of Sculptors has begun a £6.5m project to turn its historic home into "a leading centre of sculpture and 3D art".

It will reopen next summer following the first phase of works to "conserve and transform" Grade II listed Dora House.

Fundraising is under way, with a further £165,000 needed to make the building watertight and restore the facade.

President Claire Burnett called the need for repairs "critical".

"One staff member has to sit under an umbrella when it rains, the basement is out of bounds due to damp and the front and chimney are in need of a complete overhaul."

Most of the society's income comes from renting out half the building, which also provides gallery spaces that are visited by about 12,000 people each year.

The society says it will continue delivering exhibitions, residencies and education initiatives during the closure.

Can corporate sponsorship be part of the environmental agenda?

10 Nov 2021

As arts organisations struggle with post-Covid recovery, Michelle Wright asks whether sponsorship can grow in this economic climate.

Reading opens cultural hub after fundraising £1m

08 Nov 2021

Reading’s first ever producing theatre has opened following a two-year campaign that raised over £1m.

Reading Rep Theatre is sited in an old Salvation Army building and features a 163-seat auditorium alongside rehearsal and studio spaces.

More than 20 trusts and foundations contributed to the refurbishment, as well as Arts Council England, The National Lottery Community Fund and Reading Borough Council.

Artistic Director Paul Stacey called the theatre “a cultural hub for a town emerging out of isolation”.

“It's a really special moment... we've finally got the resources to realise our ambitions and put Reading on the national cultural map.”

Auction to split proceeds equally between artists

20 Sep 2021

Educational arts charity Art UK has opened an auction fundraiser which will split proceeds equally between all participating artists.

Buy Art To Help Art UK features a live auction at London's Cromwell Place on September 29 and an online auction, now open for bids until September 30.

The auctions include work from over 140 artists priced from £50 to £50,000, but proceeds will be split equally between the artists.

Art UK Director Andy Ellis says the charity's share of sales will go towards increasing access to its national art collection, expanding its learning resources and telling the stories of underrepresented artists.

“Please support us if you can by buying a great piece of art or telling your friends about what’s on offer."

Giving circles and the arts

a border of hands reaching into the centre
14 Sep 2021

Philanthropy is sometimes described as a ‘privilege’ of the wealthiest. But, as Michelle Wright argues, research suggests that giving circles can provide a meaningful and empowering experience at all levels.

Reflections on fundraising in the time of Covid-19

image of the Roundhouse Theatre
20 Jul 2021

The last 18 months have seen arts fundraisers face numerous challenges in trying to bring in income when the sector has been in such flux, says Michelle Wright.

How does political work get funded?

Projection of "Are you numb yet?" onto a building
29 Jun 2021

Who decides what political work is worth funding? And has the moment passed by the time the funding comes through? Kathryn Bilyard and Alistair Spalding share their new rapid response art fund. 

Ten arts organisations receive a quarter of trust and foundation funding

28 Apr 2021

Private funders are increasingly interested in supporting new business models and the cultural workforce, growing their aid in response to Covid-19.


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