Written evidence submitted by artsNK (arts
artsNK is a dynamic team that delivers the arts
development service for North Kesteven District and increasingly
elsewhere across Lincolnshire. Having evolved as part of the council,
we are now employed, along with our sports colleagues, by Leisure
connection within an innovative ten year contract. artNK reflects
the value and investment the council has placed on the arts and
the contribution they can make to the delivery of other service
objectives. We are currently undergoing an Organisational Development
review, alongside the local authority cultural services review,
which is designed to ensure we are best placed to meet the demands
of the coming years.
What impact will recent, and future, spending
cuts from central and local Government have on the arts and heritage
at a national and local level
The recent cut has largely been digested without
consequence, certainly for the smaller organisations here in rural
Lincolnshire. Larger, city based organisations, where the aggregate
amount is much bigger, will no doubt have found it more difficult.
In the longer term, deeper cuts will have a
more drastic effect. There is a long- standing imbalance between
levels of investment in arts in cities and in rural areas, which
leaves us balanced precariously, in danger of going over the edge.
We can see already in neighbouring authorities,
that funding in arts provision has been cut as a non- statutory
service, inevitably loosing out when difficult decisions have
to be made. Most Arts Development Officer and Cultural Officer
posts have already gone, rural arts centres closed and projects
cut back. The very real danger is that with further cuts and no
protection offered to arts funding, cultural provision will disappear
from rural areas, leaving village and town residents excluded,
forced to drive hundreds of miles to access building based, centralised
What can arts organisations do to work more closely
together in order to reduce duplication of effort and to make
economies of scale;
Here in Lincolnshire, as in the rest of the
country, arts organisations have not been sitting with our heads
in the sand or been painting protest banners, blaming others for
our economic predicament. We live in the real world and recognise
the need to demonstrate value for money and cost effectiveness.
We believe money invested in the arts delivers, as every evaluation
and survey shows, impacting positively on economic, health and
social development targets. Gone are the days of art for arts
sake. Arts organisations have grown to realise they have to deliver
in return for their public funding.
Over the last year Lincolnshire has looked at,
and started to realise, where we can get best value from local
authority and government investment in the arts by working together
and by sharing resources, skills and expertise.
Each organisation has evolved separately to
take its place in the counties arts ecology and it was easy to
think that our separateness was essential to the artistic product
delivered. Over the last year, spearheaded through the Lincolnshire
One Thrive Organisational Development review process, the county
arts organisations have grown to realise this structure is outdated
and is not sustainable. Like other local authority service areas,
we have been looking at where savings can be made or improvements
delivered through collaboration, and have started to make the
necessary structural changes to reshape the counties arts ecology.
There is however a very real danger that if resources
are withdrawn before we have been able to implement the changes
that would make us more robust and able to survive, the whole
thing would fall apart mid evolutionary change.
What level of public subsidy for the arts and
heritage is necessary and sustainable;
The level of public subsidy of the arts should
have a direct relationship to the value of what is delivered.
Projects that contribute to societies need, be it social, economic
or health related, justify investment from the public purse. But
this formula should also be applied to the private sector. Businesses
benefit from a healthy culture and a happy communitypeople
want to live and work in places that have a vibrant cultural lifeso
businesses wishing to expand should be required to invest. Individuals
benefit from taking part in art projects, so should be expected
to make a contribution in proportion to sky TV subscription. The
arts have proven that they can shape effective programmes that
overlap with the agendas and purposes of a wide range of charities,
trusts and agencies. These should recognise the value artists
and arts organisations make, and be encouraged to fund them accordingly.
The future of arts funding is therefore in a
robust formula that shares the responsibility of funding with
all those who gain value, either directly or indirectly.
Whether the current system, and structure, of
funding distribution is the right one
It is the one that has evolved, so it is the
best starting point on offer. Any wholesale change risks chucking
out the baby with the bath water. Arts organisations are capable
of change, they can be given a task to respond to need within
parameters, and they will come up with an answer. The purpose
of government and perhaps local authority funding, is to get as
much resource to the point of delivery as possible with minimum
spillage or evaporation. ACE has proven it can do this, so unless
there is a new form of watertight organisation on the shelf, it
should be the trusted to carry on.
What impact recent changes to the distribution
of National Lottery funds will have on arts and heritage organisations?
The diversion of funds to the Olympics meant
smaller projects lost out, and particularly, in our rural district,
those that were grown locally, at a community level, disappeared.
What happens when a field is cleared and left
fallow? Wild flowers bloom, age old seeds take root, poppies and
willow herb flower and enrich the landscape.
The Olympiad represents a fantastic harvest,
but the rural landscape will be more colourful when the funding
trickles back down to the grass roots.
Whether the policy guidelines for National Lottery
funding need to be reviewed
If the plan is to return the funds to the original
"good causes" then no. If it isn't, then yes they need
to be reviewed. The arts can survive, just about, if the lottery
resource is available to rejuvenate thirsty organisations "just
in time." The best strategic plan would be to make sure key
organisations are sustained to get through the drought and be
able to rejuvenate the sector once the Lottery funds begin to
Whether businesses and philanthropists can play
a long-term role in funding arts at a national and local level
Yes because we all, individuals, public and
private sector, have a vested interest in creating a balanced,
happier, society. If the England team are winning, we celebrate;
we feel healthier and happier and spend more. It is in the interests
of all business (except perhaps funeral directors and tissue producers)
to build societies that are culturally aware and active and happy.
They should fund arts organisations in proportion to the value
they draw from there programmes, visible and obvious as well as
Whether there need to be more Government incentives
to encourage private donations