The trustees of the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation have today (20 May 2011) announced a £32 million grant-giving programme to support culture, heritage and arts projects.

The funds have been made available following Lloyd Webber's £34.7 million sale of Pablo Picasso's 1903 oil portrait of Angel Fernandez de Soto or "The Absinthe Drinker" in June last year.

The painting shows de Soto, a Spanish painter who shared a studio with Picasso, sitting with a pipe and a glass of absinthe and was bought for $29.2 million in 1995.

"The Absinthe Drinker" was withdrawn from a 2006 New York auction after a previous owner claimed they were forced to sell it under duress by the Nazis. An out-of-court settlement was reached with the foundation, which allowed the painting to be sold at Christies in London on 23 June 2010. The winning bid for the Blue Period portrait was received from an anonymous telephone bidder.

The foundation have today announced a £250,000 donation to UK charity Nordoff Robbins which provides music therapy sessions in its own centres and units as well as in hospitals, day centres and schools nationwide. The charity will use the grant to maintain its unit at the BRIT school in Croydon. The charity uses music therapy and other music services to help those with autism, dementia, depression, stroke and terminal illness.

Other recipients of the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation grants include:

  • Helping inclusive youth theatre company Chickenshed towards their BTEC programme.
  • All Saints Church, Margaret St, London, towards their ongoing interior refurbishment project.
  • Burghclere Primary School Band, for the provision of a percussion teacher and percussion equipment.
  • Time Spanners, a 21-piece community music group with physical or learning disabilities towards professional support musicians.
  • The Monega Association, a community group that brings music to local pensioners and the community as a whole by putting on musical events.
  • Haringey Shed, an all inclusive performing arts group, for the refurbishment of new premises.
  • The Orpheus Centre, a performing arts college for disabled young adults, to fund arts bursaries over a three-year period.

    The trust today said they hoped the donations would make a "real and ongoing difference to people’s lives" with chairman of the trustees Mark Wordsworth adding: "Previously we have concentrated on fine art and arts education, but we have decided to help a broader scope of people and projects directly with the funds invested from the Picasso sale."

    Full information about how to apply to the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation for grant support can be found on the foundation's website at www.andrewlloydwebberfoundation.com.