Funding of the arts and heritage

Written evidence submitted by the Contemporary Glass Society (arts 15)


· Contemporary Glass is vibrant in Britain today, and brings an ancient tradition into our everyday lives

· The Contemporary Glass Society (CGS) encourages excellence in glass as a creative medium and promotes the awareness and appreciation of contemporary glass worldwide

· The CGS is one of Arts Council England’s Regularly Funded Organisations and receives funding which is essential to the existence of our organisation

· To allow the CGS and organisations like us to continue to exist, any cuts should be kept to a minimum and spread over a number of years in order to enable us to meet the cuts and maintain and grow our services.

1. Why Contemporary Glass Matters

a. Glass has been created by man for thousands of years: the Egyptian used the loss wax casting technique; the Romans and Persians blew glass into useful every day vessels. Today Britain has a vibrant community of glass-makers and artists who help to enhance our everyday life through their beautiful and imaginative sculptures, architectural installations, and everyday items.

b. The Contemporary Glass Society was funded in 1997 and is a non-profit making limited company by guarantee with dual objectives of encouraging excellence in glass as a creative medium and developing a greater awareness and appreciation of contemporary glass worldwide. Membership is by subscription and open to anyone interested in contemporary glass.


c. The CGS struggled for many years to survive and almost disappeared in its early years. However in 2002 CGS received £20, 000 ACE funding, which covered core activities and enabled a part time administrator to be employed. This funding allowed the organisation to develop and move forward. The membership has steadily grown from 170 in 2002 before funding, to over 600 in 2010 including many in Europe and across the world.

d. Our earned income has grown from £2,000 in 2002 to £27,910 in 2010 and is increasing every year. We also regularly work with other sponsors and partners to deliver our programme. Even so, the funding we receive from ACE is absolutely essential to sustain our small workforce and core activities and develop our work into the future.

2. Annually we receive around £50,000 from ACE, this allows us to;

a. Manage an informative website, with members’ own pages

b. Print & distribute quarterly, well-designed & informative Newsletters illustrating work from a wealth of talented young glass makers and established masters.

c. Run a mentorship scheme

d. Offer bursaries for high quality master classes for our members

e. Run glass-making workshops in schools, offering hands on experience for children

f. Offer advice and information to artists

g. Enable regional networking meetings, again to support makers

h. Promote high quality exhibitions of contemporary glass

i. Organise bi-annual conferences

j. We currently employ two part time workers plus four contract workers.

k. The CGS supports a whole network of studios and struggling artist’s as well as educational establishments.

3. Britain has an enormous amount of artistic talent that enhances everyday life. The Arts Council enables the arts to thrive, develop and contribute to the well being of the nation. It may seem dispensable but it really is not. It feeds and sustains the art community. Through production, receipts and export the arts community gives back to the government much of what it receives.

4. Any funding cuts that have to be made should be spread over several years allowing the many funded organisations to adjust and not to destroy or cripple them.

5. The arts organisations understand the need to work together and conserve resources

a. The Contemporary Glass Society

i. Shares information worldwide with the glass community

ii. Supports artists

iii. Supports students

iv. Supports trade organisations connected with glass making

v. Supports universities and arts educationalists

vi. Encourages business sponsorship and partnerships

vii. Promotes British Art worldwide

6. CGS could not survive without ACE funding, we help sustain a growing and thriving community of contemporary glass-makers who in turn help to make Britain a better place to live.

August 2010