thu 21/11/2019

The arts' search for funding goes digital | reviews, news & interviews

The arts' search for funding goes digital

The arts' search for funding goes digital

The launch of Donate finds 11 arts organisations striking while the iron is hot

Pipe up: the Royal Festival Hall's organ needs you

Even visitors from distant galaxies will be aware that, when it comes to the arts, state munificence is not what it was. Cuts are biting deep into an industry which is not always able to provide facts and figures in support of its importance to national wellbeing. When public money runs dry, the only other source is private wealth. But even sponsors and benefactors are feeling the pinch these days, so a new initiative has been announced to address the problem by going directly to consumers of the arts.

Donate was launched by the National Funding Scheme for the Arts and Heritage today. The idea is to tap digitally into the generosity of individuals. There are 11 participating arts organisations, to whom you – and yes, they do mean you – can make a donation via mobile phone, tablet or laptop. Rather than ask for a general contribution, the first 11 have identified something specific that requires funding. In the case of the Southbank Centre, it’s the organ of the Royal Festival Hall. For the Holburne Museum in Bath it’s a 17th-century beadwork basket they’ve got their eye on. Kala Sangam, the south Asian arts company based in Bradford, need help celebrating their 20th anniversary. And so on. The hope is that people will feel inspired to donate as soon as they’ve visited, say, the Science Museum or the Almeida Theatre, the Baltic in Gateshead or Phoenix Dance Theatre in Leeds.

““There is a moment when it is optimal for people to give,” said Griff Rhys-Jones at the launch. “But without the means and the direct intention to give at that moment, we actually put it to the back of our mind and forget about it. The idea that you are standing in front of something and can just step forward and donate is really important.”

Robert Dufton, the interim chairman of Arts Council England, was at the launch in Festival Hall this morning. Asked if there was a minimum payment, he replied, “Yeah, £3 million…” before stopping himself. The minimum payment is £3. The truth is that most of these organisations would welcome the higher tariff, but Donate is hoping humbler arts lovers will find it in their hearts to shell out too.

The full list of particpating organisations

Watch the 11 participants of Donate make their pitch


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The hope is that people will feel inspired to donate as soon as they’ve visited

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