Magazine article Art Monthly

Newcastle Disunited

Magazine article Art Monthly

Newcastle Disunited

Article excerpt

Newcastle City Council has pulled back from its initial proposal to axe its entire [pounds sterling]1.15m arts budget as it tries to save [pounds sterling]100m over the coming years and has instead launched a new method of funding local arts. There is certainly a large cut to come, 48%, as the council trims its funding commitment to [pounds sterling]600,000 per year. However, the twist is that, from 2016, the council will no longer fund any arts organisations directly and will instead channel its contributions into a fund run by an independent panel, to which others, such as businesses and philanthropists, will be welcome to contribute. Arts organisations will be able to apply for three-year funding agreements from the scheme, something that the council leader Nick Forbes argues 'frees arts up from the boom and bust of uncertain council funding and allows others to also back the arts'. However, the reality of arts sponsorship suggests that potential donors will be more likely to donate directly to their chosen organisations, with local playwright and Billy Elliot creator Lee Hall saying: 'I think these proposals are very damaging and horribly naive. …

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