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Highlights from Alan Davey's spring message

  • Date: 29 March 2012
  • Area: National

Arts Council Chief Executive, Alan Davey today set out a number of milestones for the coming year. Here are some highlights from his message.

Dame Liz Forgan

It was announced last week that Dame Liz Forgan will leave the Arts Council at the end of January 2013. Alan commented:

'Liz has been a great Chair and a great support to me and to all the staff here. Her passion, insight and strong leadership has been crucial in steering us through challenging times and delivering a sustainable future for the arts in England. She'll be much missed and I'm sure you'll join me in thanking her for brilliant stewardship of the arts.'

New initiatives and opportunities

Although the funding climate continues to be challenging, spring and summer will see a number of new initiatives and opportunities. The Arts Council's consultation to help shape the future of libraries will run throughout March and April, followed by the announcement of the new music education hubsmuseums development grants and the opening of The Space in May. This year we also have the opportunity to showcase the best of this country's art and culture during the Cultural Olympiad.

Launch of the National portfolio

From next week organisations, including our new bridge organisations for children and young people, will be receiving funding from the Arts Council through our new National portfolio. Our new relationship framework, to be published soon, will set out how we will work with these organisations.

Strategic funding

We set up our Strategic funds to complement this National portfolio investment and to help achieve the priorities set out in Arts Council plan. It is important to remember that organisations need only apply to the Strategic funds that are the right ones for them - they should not feel they need to apply to everything. What the Arts Council is interested in is how we can better achieve the priorities set out in the our  plan 

Today we announced the projects that were successful in the first stage of their application to our Capital investment programme, one of the measures we have put in place to help organisations be sustainable and resilient. We have been able to increase the budget for this round of the programme to £114 million, enabling us to fund more of the excellent proposals we received.

The first strategic touring grants will be announced in the next few weeks and we will announce grants totalling around £60 million through Catalyst Endowments and the Catalyst Match funding schemes in early May. 

We will also publish more information about Strategic funds in the coming months, including the small scale Capital and Catalyst programmes, a Digital fund, grant fund to address local priorities and further commissioned grants.

Grants for the arts

The Arts Council will continue to support artists and arts organisations through Grants for the arts, increasing the budget by £9 million in 2012/13 to allow us to fund more applications that engage people in arts activities and help artists and arts organisations carry out their work.

Looking forwards

Finally, Alan reminded organisations of their valuable contribution to arts in this country in the context of the challenging times ahead:

'What you do continues to engage audiences and visitors across the country and this Olympic year is a fantastic opportunity to demonstrate the value of public investment in arts and culture to the world. These are difficult times, but what we are engaged in helps us all make sense of the world, and is all the more valuable for that.

Here we will be working on how we can make the admin cuts we need to - we'll keep you informed and talk to you. We'll find it hard, so bear with us as we do it.'