Museums suffer worst from ACE freeze

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Museums in England have suffered an 88% reduction in Arts Council project funding because of the pandemic, according to a survey by an art market consultancy.

My Art Broker reports that ACE has been prevented from spending £45.2m it had budgeted for its projects grants programme.

Image shows the Museum of the Home, formerly the Geffrye Museum, in Hackney

While grants to museums went down 88% in 2020/21, the reduction for dance was 73%, 64% each for music and theatre, 58% for visual arts and 54% for literature. Theatre was nevertheless the most generously funded with £10.4m, visual arts next with £6.2m followed by music with £5m, literature with £3.5m, dance with £2.6m, museums with £109,000 and libraries with just £39,000.

The research also looked at how local authorities fared with ACE funding, showing that of the top 20 councils to get grants – ranging from Lambeth at the head of the list with £1.3m to Newcastle-upon-Tyne with £388,0000 – nine are London boroughs.

“Coronavirus has had a significant impact on the art industry across all sectors and locations in England” said Ian Syer, co-founder of My Art Broker. “Not only did the Arts Council England funding programmes have to close for several months, but it has since only been able to award less than half of the funding it had budgeted for this tax year.

“Funding and grants are needed now more than ever to help cultural organisations operate again, museums to reopen their doors and communities to start experiencing art and culture once more. It is great to see that in October and November 2020 more funding was awarded than the year before, showing that we’re on the right track to getting England’s creative industries back on their feet again.”


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