Turner Contemporary in Margate has raised more than half of its Catalyst Arts endowments target of £2m. Photograph: Richard Bryant, Arcaidimages.com

Bazalgette: sector must encourage a culture of giving

Rebecca Atkinson, 23.09.2013
ACE to hold annual philanthropy conference from 2014
Peter Bazalgette, chairman of Arts Council England (ACE), last week announced plans for an annual philanthropy conference and called on the sector to show the public “how deeply embedded the arts are in their daily lives”.

In a speech at the UK Community Foundations Conference on Friday, Bazalgette said that philanthropy wasn’t the only answer to the funding challenges, but that the sector had to find ways to improve it.

“We are a charitable nation,” he said. “But the arts get a tiny share… according to the Charities Aid Foundation, just 1% of the pot goes to organisations that promote the arts. Surely we can do better than that?”

Despite the arts receiving nearly 9% of £1m-plus donations, it has had less success with smaller donors, he continued. “This is a major marketing challenge to all of us in the arts.”

In response, ACE is organising an inaugural philanthropy conference in 2014. Why give to culture? will bring together charity advisers, investment advisers, corporate social responsibility leaders and the heads of Community Foundations.

Elsewhere in his speech, Bazalgette quoted recent comments by the sculptor Anthony Gormley about different attitudes towards giving in Japan – “there is an absolute belief in the duty of corporate money to reinvest in a collective future.”  

And he called on baby boomers, who have benefited from 40 years of house price inflation, final salary pensions and uncapped pension contributions, to support local arts organisations through their time as well as money.

Bazalgette said that the arts council’s job is to help the sector raise more money, through funding schemes such as the Catalyst Endowment Fund, a £2m investment in a new fellowship in fundraising based at Leeds University and a nine-month series of governance training sessions aimed at chief executives and trustees run by the Arts Fundraising and Philanthropy Programme and backed by ACE.

Matthew Bowcock, the former chairman of the UK Community Foundations, was recently appointed to the board of the arts council to help it develop its philanthropy strategies further.

Bazalgette will take part in the plenary debate, Crisis? What Crisis?, at this year’s Museums Association Conference and Exhibition in Liverpool.