Arts Council England has announced who it will fund as National Portfolio Organisations over the coming four years – and its great news for Bristol.
Our city will see over £27.5m invested in arts, culture and museums in the city from 2018 to 2022 plus an additional £3m set aside to boost Bristol’s visual arts scene. In total that’s a potential 12% increase in Bristol funding.
This investment is positive recognition of our international reputation as a capital for culture and a place where creativity, industry and originality are encouraged. We pride ourselves on that reputation, it sets us apart from the rest of the world and reflects the diversity upon which our communities are built.
This money, along with the council’s investment and funding from many other areas, helps build one of the largest culture economies outside of London. Yet its benefits – jobs, education, opportunity, investment – are not felt equally across our city. That’s something we have to change.
Arts Council England’s announcement comes just as my Cabinet and I endorsed a new citywide cultural strategy that has at its heart the determination to ensure the benefits of that economy are felt across the whole of Bristol. Working with national organisations such as Arts Council England and local organisations across culture, health, education and business we will ensure the cultural economy works for everyone in the city.
Whilst there have been some winners, there have also been some who have missed out. For those who haven’t received funding this time I share my sympathies and hope that they can continue their work. News like this is hard, I know, we get it from government all the time. What I must be clear on is that the council cannot pick up the gap in funding and be the funder of last resort. Where we can help we will help but my challenge to the city is to reflect on how we can all support these organisations without the need of relying on council funding that no longer exists.