Pallant House Gallery was a recipient of HLF Catalyst Endowment funding

Individual giving to arts and culture is rising, Arts Index finds

Elena Chabo, 12.12.2017
But local government funding and sponsorship has fallen
The Arts Index, published last month by the National Campaign for the Arts (NCA) and covering the condition of arts and culture provision in England, reported a 68 point rise in individual giving since its last edition in 2015.

The index reports change with point scores: one point reflects 1% of the original 2007-08 base value.

The 68 point growth in individual giving was offset by a 20 point fall in sponsorship from businesses and a 15 point drop in local government funding (now sitting at a 39 point reduction since its peak in 2008-09).

Funding from the national lottery is up 18 points, trusts and foundations funding was up by seven and earned income by arts organisations is up four.

According to the NCA, the shift away from diminishing public funding to income is worsening the problem of “gentrification” in the arts, with ticket prices rising above inflation.

The proportion of the adult population that reported having attended an arts event was down by 2 points from 2015 while the proportion that supported funding of arts and culture from taxes was down by 35 points. Only 37% of those surveyed supported funding of the arts through public taxation.

“We have failed to persuade people of the cultural, social, educational and economic value of every pound invested in the arts”, said the NCA's chairman, Samuel West.

“The public don’t yet know how funding works and how it makes world-class art affordable for all. The NCA must redouble its efforts to increase understanding of the power and value of arts investment.”

Using data from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport’s Taking Part Survey in England, the index reported that the gap in engagement between white and black and minority ethnic adults had almost doubled since the index began in 2007-08 (6.2% to 12.1%).

The NCA report said the increased gap was unacceptable, adding: “All arts organisations should understand both the social and economic case for breaking down barriers, for listening to and working creatively with people from all backgrounds and communities.”

The report suggested encouragement by Arts Council England’s Catalyst programme, a £100m investment scheme that launched in 2012, played a part in the rise in philanthropic giving. But, said NCA board member Sarah Gee, “too often individual givers are being asked to plug a gap created by public funding cuts”.

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