Newcastle City Council has announced that it plans to cut all funding to arts organisations in the city as part of saving £90m over three years.
The proposal is in response to a reduction in funding from central government which represents over one third of the council’s overall revenue budget. Some 1,300 jobs are expected to be lost in the next three years.
Visual arts organisations in Newcastle that currently receive some financial support from the city council include Globe Gallery, Isis Arts, Side Gallery and Star and Shadow. Tyneside Cinema is also affected.
Globe Gallery has received funding from the city council for nearly a decade. Its annual grant was cut from £20,000 to £15,000 last year. Following a meeting with the council last week, Globe were told that its 2013 grant will be halved before being cut entirely from 2014. The council grant represents a small but significant part of the not-for-profit organisation’s funding: in 2010/11 Globe’s total income was £196,000, reducing to £150,000 for 2011/12.
Globe Director Rashida Davison said: “While the city council grant doesn’t represent a major part of our income, which comes from a variety of sources, it’s like a rubber stamp – it shows that we’re part of the arts infrastructure in the city and it helps us to get other funding.”
Globe lost its Regular Funded Organisation status last year, making any reduction in regular funding all the more destabilising for the organisation.
“Losing funding strips away any sense of security for the future,” said Davison. “I do worry for the future of grass roots organisations like Globe. It seems to be one thing after another at the moment and we’re predicting a significant reduction in income this year unless we are successful with funding applications to Grants for arts, trusts and foundations, and income generation through sales.”
Davison said that there is a dialogue between Globe and the council regarding the funding situation for 2013, with a further meeting planned. “There is a possibility that funding may not be halved for 2013, but a full 100% reduction in 2014 looks likely.”
Graeme Rigby, part of the Amber Collective that runs Side Gallery, confirmed that it is to lose its £15,000 annual grant from 2014. He said: “It represents about 15% of our annual budget for the gallery. Having lost our RFO status it will mean that we haven’t got any stable source of funding – ACE funding is now project-based. And the less predictable the funding, the less useful it is.”
He added: “We understand the situation the council finds itself in – they’re dealing with an appalling cut [from central government].”
Under the council’s budget proposals, funding to Tyne & Wear Museums and Archives will be halved and funding of the Great North Museum will also cease. Some of the city’s most well-known arts institutions – such as Live Theatre, Northern Stage, Theatre Royal and Seven Stories – will lose out in the cuts.
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