U.K. Arts Orgs are not Optimistic about the Future

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March 31, 2011; Source: The Stage News | According to the U.K. culture think-tank Arts Quarter, almost half of U.K. cultural organizations believe it will take ten to 20 years for philanthropy in the arts to benefit the industry at the desired level. Two-thirds of companies surveyed in the report say they welcome the government’s plans to galvanize private financial support, but apparently they’re not optimistic about the results.

The report said, “Overall, the sector is evidently resigned to the fact that in a climate of cuts, little option remains but to embrace the principles of the [government’s philanthropy] agenda in the absence of no other solutions coming forward.”

According to the new research organizations are also calling for “urgent” tax reforms to encourage U.S.-style philanthropic giving.

Arts Quarter managing partner John Nicholls told The Stage News that incentivizing givers this way is important, but organizations in the U.K. need to look to the private sector for funding if they are to “grow and thrive.”

“The new reality is that organizations are now going to have to find ways of living with lower proportions of subsidy within their overall business models, so despite what may be being said, philanthropy is a replacement for subsidy in part. The secretary of state has made clear that he continues to see subsidy as an important part of the cultural economy. What is clear is that organizations need to begin to see it as a much smaller element of their funding mix,” he said.—Aaron Lester