Cold War Steve’s windbreak art

Cold War Steve’s windbreak art

Those braving the autumnal wind and rain on Boscombe Beach in Bournemouth from today will be greeted by a giant new windbreak.

Live theatre can go ahead

Live theatre can go ahead

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has confirmed that that theatres can stay open under the new distancing rules that came into effect yesterday, and all current or planned productions can go ahead.

TAITIMAIL  Not so much a dogwhistle as a flogwhistle for our museums

TAITIMAIL Not so much a dogwhistle as a flogwhistle for our museums

The Royal Academy is famously our one world class art venue that is independent. It gets no subsidy and relies entirely on sponsorship, box office and what it can earn, and runs an art school for which it charges no fee (because that’s what society did 250 years ago). So if museums and galleries are in trouble, you can say that again for the RA.

Freelancers still missing out in Sunak’s emergency plans

Freelancers still missing out in Sunak’s emergency plans

There has been a broad welcome for the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s emergency Covid crisis measures announced today, but with serious reservations that the Self Employment Income Support Scheme remain unchanged leaving many self-employed still vulnerable.

Colston Hall becomes Bristol Beacon

Colston Hall becomes Bristol Beacon

Bristol’s leading music venue Colston Hall, which has borne the name of the slave trader Edward Colston for more than 150 years, has been renamed Bristol Beacon.

Factory’s arts apprentices

Factory’s arts apprentices

Manchester International Festival has announced a training programme for up to 10,000 unemployed young people.

Thamesmead and ‘the culture of everyday life’

Thamesmead and ‘the culture of everyday life’

Five international artists have been chosen as the shortlist to create an artistic landmark and signpost to the future of the London surburban new town of Thamesmead.

£7.4m to lift high streets with art

£7.4m to lift high streets with art

Historic England has unveiled a £7.4m arts programme for England’s high streets, including four major arts commissions for works “capturing the everyday magic of high streets”.

Garfield Weston’s £25m arts rescue

Garfield Weston’s £25m arts rescue

A £25m one-off one-month fund to help larger museums, performing and visual arts organisations hit by the Covid-19 pandemic has been announced by the Garfield Weston fund on Foundation.

The fund, opening on October 5 and closing on November 9, is open to arts organisations, galleries and museums with an annual income of at least £500,000 a year, with grants worth from £100,000 to £2m.

“The UK’s performing and visual arts are among the best on the world but they have been hard hit by the pandemic” said the foundation’s director, Philippa Charles (pictured). “It became very clear to our trustees that while we have seen some incredibly, creative responses to Covid-19 many cultural organisations need support to restart their important work and bring audiences back.

https://garfieldweston.org/new-weston-culture-fund-coming-soon/

 

 

National Theatre to reopen with remodelled Olivier

National Theatre to reopen with remodelled Olivier

The National Theatre’s Olivier, the largest of its three auditoriums, is being reshaped to accommodate bigger audiences when it reopens next month.

‘Transition and change’ key to new arts leadership

‘Transition and change’ key to new arts leadership

The Clore Leadership Fellowship has remodelled its programme to focus on transition and change forced by the Covid-19 crisis for spring 2021.

Cultured high streets could save our communities

Cultured high streets could save our communities

Cultural organisations set in our high streets will play an important role in our communities’ post-Covid recovery, says Arts Council England.

 Your hundred Covid portraits

Your hundred Covid portraits

An exhibition of photographs inspired by experiences of the Covid pandemic has been opened at the National Portrait Gallery by the Duchess of Cambridge.

Coliseum reopens with Requiem

Coliseum reopens with Requiem

English National Opera is to reopen with a special performance of Mozart’s Requiem in recognition of the nation’s struggles during the Covid-19 crisis.

TAITMAIL			Time to target local arts funding

TAITMAIL Time to target local arts funding

It’s always gratifying to get a proper think tank endorsing a one-man sort of inkwell tank (ink tank?) and this new report takes on a Taitmail bee - decentralising arts funding and dealing with local shortfalls – with an inarguable opening statement.

Artists devise festival for mentally ill

Artists devise festival for mentally ill

A new ten week arts festival is being launched tomorrow that brings together artists and those suffering with mental ill health.

RA’s Summer Exhibition is major autumn opener

RA’s Summer Exhibition is major autumn opener

The Royal Academy’s Summer Exhibition, a fixture in the art calendar, is to open – in the autumn and five months late because of Covid-19.

 Albert Hall’s public plea for £20m rescue

Albert Hall’s public plea for £20m rescue

The Royal Albert Hall is appealing for public donations worth £20m to ensure its survival.

Concert to shop by, courtesy of the RPO

Concert to shop by, courtesy of the RPO

Weekend shoppers and residents in Wembley Park were surprised to be serenaded by musicians from the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) with live orchestral music played to an unsuspecting audience  in London’s newest creative neighbourhood.

Theatres could reopen on Nov 1

Theatres could reopen on Nov 1

Culture secretary Oliver Dowden is believed to working on allowing theatres and concert halls to reopen from November 1 with mass testing for audiences replacing social distancing, with full operation possible Christmas.

‘Devolve arts funding to local councils to help Covid recovery’ – report

‘Devolve arts funding to local councils to help Covid recovery’ – report

The government should devolve arts funding to local authorities to help England recover from Covid-19.

Remember the 3m you forgot, Chancellor!

Remember the 3m you forgot, Chancellor!

A video choir of more than 100 singers representing the three million believed to have been left out of the government’s lockdown safeguard funding has released a song via Facebook directed at Chancellor Rishi Sunak. 

Scarborough goes live at the SJT - including panto

Scarborough goes live at the SJT - including panto

Sir Alan Ayckbourn’s Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough is reopening with an autumn and winter live programme.

Belarus: ‘Our weapons are ourselves’

Belarus: ‘Our weapons are ourselves’

Last week we published an exclusive article by the writer and actor Nichola McAuliffe about the Belarusian government’s treatment of its own national theatre, the Janka Kupal, where a play of hers had been produced. The government-appointed general director came out in support of the demonstrators against the disputed presidential election results and, she reported, was summarily sacked. The theatre’s personal all came out in his support, and now they have found their own voice, their own demands and their own plea to theatre communities and media outlets around the world for their support.

Grey paper

Wikipedia says a White Paper is “an authoritative report or guide that informs readers concisely about a complex issue and presents the issuing body's philosophy on the matter”. Infopedia says White Papers are “sales and marketing documents used to entice or persuade potential customers to learn more about or purchase a particular product, service, technology or methodology”. In the case of the Culture White Paper launched today, Jude Kelly calls it simply “a statement of belief”. So what is it?

It would be churlish not to recognize the achievement of producing such a document, and what it does is set out in black and, particularly, white that the government believes the arts and culture are fundamental to not just the economy but our collective well-being, so there’s philosophy; what it might be selling is the government’s cultural credibility. But Ed Vaizey, whose baby it is, has encapsulated the essence of change that is shoving our artistic endeavours around at the moment, a change he chooses not to credit to the funding storms that the government has assailed the arts with since 2010. There’s a new mood of enterprise, of philanthropy, of self-reliance that needs to be formally harnessed. 

So he is taking a lead by telling the arts to talk among themselves more, to co-operate, to get the ridiculous inconsistencies of what is called primly “diversity” – not enough black/female/young/homosexual leaders or even participants – corrected, to ensure that kids from poor backgrounds can have a chance of inspiration. He is standing up with the government and saying “This is what should be happening”, and he did well to get it out now given the extreme tightness of government schedules which meant that if he hadn’t managed it before Easter we might have had to wait until the autumn, or later. One very big arts panjandrum there this morning said in its favour that it was better to have had it than not to have had it.

What the White Paper does not do, and Vaizey might say isn’t supposed to do, is present either a stick or a carrot: no sanction for those that don’t adhere to this statement of belief, no financial encouragement either. As we kept being told today, this is the first White Paper since the very first in 1965 but brief as that was (ten pages, 200 paragraphs, Vaizey reminded us) it was accompanied by a considerable hike in arts subsidy and a new national brief for the Arts Council: there’s no new cash in these 68 pages. 

There is plenty in the White Paper that we already know about – the Great Exhibition of the North, City of Culture, £20m for doing up cathedrals – because they are Treasury initiatives already announced by George Osborne. The fact is that the kind of arts that happen in communities and tend to be run by local authorities make almost £6bn a year for this country, and Vaizey is having to find ways of relieving the local authority arts funding crisis without cash. So show willing, not your wallet.

Politics, I’m afraid. Another panjandrum pointed out to me that there is one British institution that more than any other commissions, produces, sells, exports the best of our culture, and in the course of it entertains and informs the entire nation, and it gets no mention anywhere in this document. It is, of course, the BBC. Now why ever would that be?

 

 

 

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