Arts Council England has today announced its investment plans for the next three years. At a press conference at their headquarters in Pimlico, London, ACE announced a new National Portfolio (NPOs) of 670 arts organisations plus 21 Major Partner Museums (MPMs).

Whilst 75% of previously funded organisations have received standstill funding, 37 have seen funding reduced. ACE also announced that 58 organisations will be leaving the portfolio altogether.

In the visual arts, one of the announcement’s major shocks is that Axisweb has lost its NPO status. The organisation provides a curated online showcase for UK contemporary art and helps artists with their career developement.

Sheila McGregor, director of Axisweb, said: “The news comes as a huge disappointment, but we are encouraged by the positive assessment our application received and look forward to working with ACE staff to secure the organisation’s future.”

A statement on the Axisweb site said: “Over the coming months both Axisweb board and staff will be rigorously pursuing all options to adapt our business model to a reduction in our revenue funding. In the meantime, it will be business as usual for Axisweb.”

Other visual arts organisations who were previously NPOs but do not feature in ACE’s new portfolio include the Birmingham-based public art think tank ixia, artist-led research facility Art Gene (Barrow-in-Furness), Photofusion (London) and Beaconsfield (London).

New additions

Of the new additions to the portfolio, six are visual arts organisations. Castlefield Gallery in Manchester has regained its NPO status having lost out in 2011, and will funding of £210,000 over the three years.

In Bristol, public art producers Situations will get funding of £255,000 for the 2015-18 period, while the London-based artist-led organisation Into Art, which works with people with learning difficulties, is to receive just under £280,000.

Other new additions are London galleries the Design Museum, Peckham Space, and the William Morris Gallery.

The North-West based Abandon Normal Devices festival of new cinema, digital culture and art, which alternates between Manchester and Liverpool, is also new to the portfolio with funding of £405,000 over the three years.

Regional support

Speaking at this morning’s press conference, Alan Davey, chief executive of ACE, placed emphasis on the need to give regional areas more support. This is echoed in an increase of 4% funding to areas outside London.

He said: “In 2008 51% of funding went to London and 49% was outside the capital. In 2015/16 it will be 47% in London and 53% outside. These are small changes but also very important ones.”

Additionally, there will be £15m for a new Strategic fund aimed at retaining talent and boosting production outside the capital. Davey said: “The long term health of our arts and culture depends on continued commitment from central and local government.”

ACE chair Peter Bazalgette added: “One of the first questions I asked when I started at ACE was what are we doing about funding outside London? We analysed after the last NPO round the cold spots where there were less applications. The Creative People and Places fund has thankfully raised applications from these areas.”

During a Q&A session after the main event, Davey was quizzed by a-n regarding the Arts Council’s commitment to fair payment to artists.

Davey said: “When we negotiate our funding, fair payment for artists is part of the agreement. It is one of the requirements we make of organisations and we will be monitoring it.”

For more information visit: