Arts Funding

News | Future of Arts Funding in Question

Arts sector needs more support to reduce reliance on public funding, says National Assembly committee.

Arts bodies need more support to reduce their reliance on public funding in a difficult financial climate, says a National Assembly committee.

The Culture, Welsh Language and Communications Committee agreed that other forms of funding, particularly from the private sector are difficult to generate, particularly in areas outside of major population areas. Presence of FTSE 100 companies and net wealth of benefactors were also seen as key contributory factors.

The Committee cited London as a prime example, finding that non-public funding of the arts in the UK capital worked out at £49.64 per person compared with £1.64 per person for the remainder of England.

In Wales, local authority funding of Arts Portfolio Wales (arts organisations that receive annual revenue funding from the Arts Council) has reduced from £11 million in 2011-12 to £4.5 million in 2015-16.

The Welsh Government has called on the culture sector to up its game on fundraising, marketing and income generation. But the Committee found this policy direction lacked the necessary support and services to help organisations to do that, effectively leaving them in a catch 22 situation.

“The Arts illuminate and enrich our lives. They are an indispensable part of our society, and they bring wide-ranging benefits to us all,” said Bethan Sayed AM, Chair of the Culture, Welsh Language and Communications Committee.

“But it became evident during our inquiry that arts organisations in Wales face very real challenges if they are to generate more commercial revenue and increase income from trusts and foundations.

“The often-small size of arts organisations in Wales and their distance from large centres of population contribute to their difficulties in raising funding. Wales is also not blessed with large numbers of high net worth individuals and few major companies have their headquarters here.

“The ironic situation is that arts organisations may need additional public sector support to reduce their reliance on public sector funding. In particular, they may need more help to develop the fund raising skills they need and to seek out new sources of revenue.”

The Committee makes ten recommendations in its report, including:

  • The Welsh Government should continue to provide financial support, whether through Arts and Business Cymru or otherwise, to promote and develop partnership working between business and the arts to help maximise financial support for the arts from business;
  • That the Welsh Government takes action to increase awareness of, and investment in, the excellent arts organisations and projects based in Wales, by UK-based trusts and foundations; and,
  • The Welsh Government should commission research in order to identify and exploit international markets that have growth potential for Welsh arts organisations.

The Committee’s findings will now be considered by the Welsh Government.