Culture Minister Ed Vaizey launches Big Arts Give

By Culture24 Staff | 26 May 2010
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A photo of a man in a suit standing in front of a ballet dancer and a piano

Alec Reed (above) will be spearheading the Big Arts Give, the new government's drive to increase philanthropic investment in the arts and cultural sectors. Image © Philanthropy UK/Lisa Barnard

The Culture Minister, Ed Vaizey, has launched a new scheme aiming to raise £3 million in private investment for the arts by the end of 2010 ahead of planned cuts in next month’s emergency Budget and later in the year.

Under the scheme, dubbed the Big Arts Give, charities will be encouraged to set a Matching Fund goal, raising the same target in public donations by December 6. They will then be able to compete to have further public donations doubled by The Arts and Business Challenge Fund, operating on a first-come, first-served basis until all the money has been used.

Founded by Reed Recruitment owner Alec Reed, whose personal wealth is estimated to exceed £60 million, The Big Arts Give is designed to encourage philanthropy by matching donations of up to £5,000.

A photo of a man in a shirt at a festival campsite

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey said the sector would face further cuts in autumn 2010

"I think the Big Arts Give is a terrific idea," said Vaizey, whose Department for Culture, Media and Sport is under pressure from the Treasury to save £88 million.

"I hope, in particular, it will unlock additional funding for some of our smaller cultural bodies."

"I am delighted that Arts and Business is putting arts at the forefront of inspirational fundraising," added Reed, claiming benefactors "enjoy the buzz" of having their donations doubled.

"Innovations such as the Big Arts Give play a key role in making the new government's Big Society a reality."

The initiative is part of a new Private Sector Policy for the Arts, a five-pronged blueprint pursuing £1 billion in private sector investment for the arts through match funding proposals, increased cultural philanthropy from the business sector and tax reforms such as the promotion of Gift Aid.

Colin Tweedy, the head of administrators Arts and Business, said the "priority recommendations" would yield a "decisive return" of £8 for every £1 invested through a £500,000 "catalyst fund".

A photo of a man wearing glasses and an open-necked suit

Colin Tweedy of Arts
and Business

"The arts are often perceived as being slightly out of the mainstream of charitable giving," he suggested. "We will promote this innovative approach for the benefit of organisations wishing to develop new relationships with givers.

"It is not about quick-fix fundraising, but should be used by arts organisations to help foster a culture of life-long giving.

"Time is not on our side. The overriding aim for cultural policy must be to impact more quickly on the ability of the whole arts sector to transform their capacity to generate and sustain private funds.

"This private sector policy is also a call to action for businesses, their employees and individuals alike – for sponsorship and philanthropy to work hand-in-hand for the benefit of the arts and wider society. We all need their skills and finance, but also their hearts and minds."

Around 150 arts and culture representatives attended the speech at the Museum of London, held in the aftermath of the Department of Culture, Media and Sport announcing a 3% reduction in funding for their traditionally funded organisations by the end of March 2011.

National museums and the UK Film Council will each lose 3%. Funding for Arts Council England is to be reduced by 4%, slashing £19 million from its allowance for the current financial year.

Interested arts and cultural organisations are being invited to briefings on The Big Arts Give at the following venues across the UK:

Leicester
May 27, 11am
Curve, Rutland Street.
Email peter.collins@artsandbusiness.org.uk to register.

Birmingham
May 27, 4pm
MAC, Cannon Hill Park.
Email peter.collins@artsandbusiness.org.uk.

Exeter
May 28, 12pm
Arts Council England, South West Senate Court, Sourthernhay Gardens.
Email june.gadd@artsandbusiness.org.uk.

Bristol
May 28, 4pm
Mercure Bristol Holland House Hotel and Spa, Redcliffe Hill, Bristol BS1 6SQ
Email june.gadd@artsandbusiness.org.uk.

Edinburgh
June 3, 2pm
Scottish Book Trust , Sandeman House, High Street.
Email scotland.arts@artsandbusiness.org.uk.

Belfast
June 8, 12.30pm (arts sector briefing 1.30pm)
Naughton Gallery, Queen's University (arts sector briefing at Lanyon Building, University Road.
Email anne.mcadams@artsandbusiness.org.uk

Newcastle
June 9, 1pm
Castlegate Centre 3rd Floor, Melbourne Street.
Email kathryn@communityfoundation.org.uk

Manchester
June 10, 10am
Band on the Wall , Swan Street.
Email eleanor.wotherspoon@artsandbusiness.org.uk

Cambridge
June 15, 2pm
Fitzwilliam Museum, Trumpington Street.
Email sarah.greenwood@artsandbusiness.org.uk

Guildford
June 17
Venue TBC.
Email shona.inkster@artsandbusiness.org.uk

Read Culture24's report on Jeremy Hunt's first speech as Culture Secretary last week.