Funding of the arts and heritage

Written evidence submitted by Turner Contemporary (arts 09)

Submitted by Victoria Pomery, Director of Turner Contemporary on behalf of the organisation.

Key points raised in the paper:

· Culture is economically and socially valuable to the country.

· The true value of culture goes beyond economic statistics.

· Turner Contemporary can provide examples of projects that have improved participants lives and promoted social cohesion, and we know these kinds of projects are replicated by organisations across the country.

· We are focused on maximising income from commercial activities and private sector funders but our project will always require some degree of public sector support in order to succeed.

1. As I am sure the committee is aware, the statistics behind the UK cultural sector are impressive. In the last 10 years the creative and cultural industries have grown faster than any other sector and now account for 2 million jobs and in 2007 £16.6 billion of exports.

2. Museums and galleries play an integral role in the UK tourism industry, accounting for eight of the UK’s top ten visitor attractions, and we know that two thirds of the adult population enjoy the arts, visit historic sites, and go to museums and galleries. The economic benefits of the UK’s major museums and galleries are estimated to be £1.5 billion a year.

3. But I would like to stress to the committee that the benefits of arts and heritage extend beyond the facts and figures. Culture plays an important role in all areas of national life and the benefits that it brings are immense and cannot always be quantified. A cultural experience as a child, for instance, may not have a real impact on that individual until he/she becomes an adult. From our own work here in Margate, we know that our very presence as a visual arts organisation has made a difference.

4. Below are three example projects provided for the committee’s attention, however I am sure that you will find that arts based projects like these that promote community cohesion, personal development and provide learning opportunities are replicated by organisations across the UK.

5. Our Cultural Ambassadors project, for instance, has enabled individuals from the community who have had no previous arts education and, in many cases no formal education whatsoever, to undertake a 12 week accredited course to gain practical skills through artist led workshops, visits to galleries in London and exploring ways of looking at, discussing and making art. During the six years that Cultural Ambassadors has been running we have had many participants go on to enter the Access course and continue onto the part time Fine Art BA degree at the University for the Creative Arts (UCA). Developed in conjunction with UCA, this scheme has enabled people with limited skills, low self esteem and confidence to thrive and flourish.

6. Through our Thanet Works scheme in partnership with Thanet District Council we are training 15 currently unemployed residents in customer care and welcome. At least 5 of these participants will be employed within our gallery with the others helped to find employment within the community.

7. Our award winning Times of our Lives project brought together the young and the elderly from across the local community, sharing experiences and promoting understanding. Here art was the catalyst for bringing the community together in a way that would not happened otherwise.

8. The success of these and other projects, developed out of partnership working, recognising the needs within the community and finding a creative solution. The education sector would not have been able to develop such projects without the input from an arts organisation and vice versa.

9. During spring 2011, we will open a new gallery building here in Margate designed by award winning practice, David Chipperfield Architects. The costs of this new building (£17.4m) have been met through a partnership of funders including Kent County Council, Arts Council England and the regional development agency, SEEDA, with a small amount of private funding.

10. The partners’ investment demonstrates a belief that Turner Contemporary can act as a key element of the regeneration of Margate and East Kent. As an organisation we are well placed to support skills and training, learning and community cohesion agendas but we also aim to make a major impact on the tourism offer in Kent and the South East and strive for excellence in all areas of our work. We will be the largest gallery space in the south east outside London and will deliver a world class programme of exhibitions and events. This will attract an anticipated 150,000 visitors to Margate, driving an expansion of the tourism offer and putting money into the local economy.

11. Turner Contemporary will be run in an efficient and professional manner, with good financial controls and a business planning process focused on meeting objectives and delivering excellence. I am accountable to a board of trustees, chaired by John Kampfner, who are drawn from various walks of life and who have a multiplicity of skills. We are committed to ensuring that we earn income from commercial activities and we already work in partnership with others to reduce/share costs where possible, but the gallery will always require some level of funding support.

12. Over the past few years we have run a capital campaign to meet some of the costs of the new building. Likewise we have had some success in fund raising for our revenue costs, however, there is a considerable amount of competition within the geographical area as well as the visual arts to generate large sums of money from businesses and philanthropists. The majority of the businesses that are based in East Kent are small and those larger businesses that are here eg Pfizer, Hornby and Saga are asked to fund all manner of community initiatives and may not have the inclination to use their CSR budgets to support the arts.

13. I know that many of my peers will be sharing similar experiences with you. We passionately believe that the arts have a vital role to play in society and can deliver measurable economic and social benefits in addition to hard to capture impact that creativity and imagination can play in people’s lives. We embrace the need for museums and galleries to take responsibility for raising revenue through commercial and fundraising activities, but experience tells us that there has to be a mix of public and private sector funding in order to achieve a buoyant and dynamic cultural sector.

August 2010