‘Drastic cuts’ at Arts Centre?

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An application from the Island’s three major arts organisation – the Arts Centre, the Opera House and ArtHouse Jersey – for increased funding is due to be decided upon next week.

Daniel Austin, director at the Arts Centre, has said the organisation’s revenue has dropped by around 20 per cent in the last five years, as government grants have not kept up with inflation.

In March, the Arts Centre made a plea for additional government funding which, if not granted, Mr Austin said would lead to the organisation having to reduce its offering drastically.

‘In an average year we can deliver over 500 events,’ he said. ‘For us to sustain that, the real terms reduction needs to be addressed. We are waiting to hear on the outcome of our application.’

The decision will ultimately be made by the States Investment Appraisal Board, which is currently reviewing the various business cases for funding.

And Mr Austin said that ensuring a strong cultural offering would be crucial to delivering some of the new Council of Ministers’ strategic aims – including improving public health and education.

He said: ‘People have to think much more holistically about these things.

‘Experiencing music, drama and dance is part of your education and health and wellbeing. It is a case of thinking much more broadly about the bigger picture.’

Assistant Economic Development Minister Montfort Tadier, who has responsibility for culture, said he was prepared to ‘fight’ around the ministerial table to secure more funding for the culture sector.

He said: ‘The bottom line is they need an uplift in their funding over the new few years to make sure they are adequately funded to continue to deliver the excellent programme that they do.

‘It can be difficult for them to budget for a year if they just get their money every quarter so we need to look at the way they are given their money.

‘There is a good economic reason to
support it. Culture is an economic driver. Culture is not a nice to have, it is an essential.

‘We know that there are health and education benefits as well and so we need to be working with those departments to make sure we have adequate funding.’

Mr Austin said he expected to receive an answer to the funding application by the end of next week.

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