Arts Council Funding Highlights Cultural DiversityDate: 13 June 2001
Black, Asian and Chinese arts enterprises have been given a £29m boost from Lottery resources, as the Arts Council of England announces a new funding round. A total of 60 projects, worth over £90m, have been admitted to the Arts Capital Programme altogether. Meanwhile, London's Young Vic theatre has expressed some "surprise and disappointment" at its grant of £250,000, whilst remaining upbeat about future plans and its involvement with the Arts Council.
The Young Vic Company Limited in London has proposed total costs of £6m for its project. The long-term aim is to undergo essential remedial work, including an upgraded foyer, catering, studio, backstage and office space. Speaking to Whatsonstage.com, Artistic Director David Lan said: "What we're after is a rather modest building in the scheme of things, partly because of the type of organisation we are. The £6m target ought to be achievable to replace what we've currently got which was originally built very cheaply. However, what a statement of support from the Arts Council does is potentially bring other people on board. They have made an indication by putting us on the programme that our project will be implemented, as all schemes on the programme are intended for completion. We have to rebuild and we will do it. Hopefully our many supporters will continue to back us. We've already had a run of successful productions again this year, with more on the go at present."
Among the culturally diverse projects to be included are a new Chinese Arts Centre in Manchester, the Academy of South Asian Performing Arts and the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust. £10m has also been reserved for projects that target children and young people, with the Unicorn Children's Centre in London receiving £4.5m.
Peter Hewitt, Chief Executive of the Arts Council, said: "This is a very positive first step by the Arts Council to address the lack of funding for the culturally diverse arts sector. £29m represents the largest ever allocation of lottery funds to Black, Asian and Chinese arts groups from the Arts Council." The 60 projects admitted to the Arts Capital Programme will work directly with designated Arts Council Officers to prepare their projects. Plans for individual schemes must be fully developed before funds are released.
Closer examination of the funding by region reveals the London Arts Board receiving over £27m, with other areas obtaining between £5m and £8m each. The Southern Arts Board and Yorkshire Arts are set to claim the largest amounts of around £8.5m each.
Obvious delight has been expressed from a number of beneficiaries. Sarah Champion, Chief Executive of the Chinese Arts Centre, said: "This award will allow us to show the quality of work which is generated by British Chinese artists and the relevance it has to the British public." Established in Manchester in 1987, the Chinese Arts Centre proposes to purchase a new building with gallery spaces, plus rooms for education, rehearsal and performance. Elsewhere, the Unicorn Children's Centre intends to build a purpose-designed theatre for children. Artistic Director Tony Graham said: "Children from London and beyond will have a centre where their imaginations are free to soar, where they can be inspired, challenged and entertained." The project's total cost is £11m, but the remainder is expected to be found from private and public sources.
Although the Arts Council won't be drawn on responding to individual claims, they have stated the following: "The Arts Capital Programme is extremely competitive, and relatively speaking, the projects that we have decided to fund are stronger than those that we have not accepted on to the programme. Unlike our previous capital lottery programme, where all projects that scored a certain level received funding, this Arts Capital Programme has limited funds available."
- by Gareth Thompson