Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Planning Our Next Exhibition

House of Beasts

Things are very busy here at Meadow Arts as we are getting everything ready for our next exhibition; House of Beasts at the National Trust's Attingham Park in Shropshire. The exhibition will open in July, but we have been preparing for it since last Autumn.

There is an enormous amount of research that is done in the initial planning stages. Anne is the curator, so she is constantly visiting exhibitions so that she knows what is around and who is doing work that will be relevant to the exhibition. We often discuss artists and artworks in the office, so it is vital that we all see current exhibitions so that we are aware of works that could be potentially part of a future exhibition.

The work of an arts organisation is never done and a huge amount of time has been spent applying for funding since I joined Meadow Arts in September. The biggest funding application is the Arts Council one, but it is necessary to apply to other funders as well because Arts Council England will provide only part of the funding. They also need to see that we are supported by the Local Authorities that we are working with and that we work in partnership with other organisations.

There is no admission charge for the exhibitions and public commissions that Meadow Arts puts on, so all of the costs have to be raised through Arts Council England, other Trusts and Foundations, Local Authorities, Partners and Sponsorship. The benefits of this are that the public can see Contemporary Art in their local area for free and we also provide workshops so that schools and the public get an opportunity to make art for themselves and talk directly to artists about the exhibitions.

Art exhibitions also help the economy because the visitors they bring in spend money on other things in the local economy, like restaurants and hotels. Studies show that the arts generate more money for the economy (£3 for each £1 of investment they receive) and the arts employ 2 million people in the UK.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

National Portfolio Funding Success

Meadow Arts Gets 
Arts Council England Funding

Arts Council England has made its decisions on which organisations will become part of their National Portfolio Funding programme for three years from 2012-15 and they have chosen to fund Meadow Arts. 

Here is Meadow Arts statement on the news:

"Since its creation in 2001, Meadow Arts has relied on gaining separate funding for each individual exhibition and programme it has undertaken.  Arts Council England has now acknowledged the contribution Meadow Arts makes to Contemporary Art by placing Meadow Arts into its National Portfolio Funding Programme. The Arts Council grant to Meadow Arts for 2012-13 has been set at £160,000 with inflationary increases over the following two years.

Whilst this is good news for Meadow Arts, we deeply regret the loss of funding to so many other arts organisations across the country."

We are absolutely delighted to know that we can plan for the next three years of exhibitions and have a stable and secure future for that time.  We have got lots of exciting work in store and are currently really busy getting ready for the July opening of our House of Beasts exhibition at Attingham Park, a National Trust property in Shropshire.

Since Wednesday, when we heard about the funding decision, we have all been torn between celebrating our own success and feeling sympathy for all of the organisations who didn't make it into the portfolio. It is going to be a real struggle for many of them. There is still another funding strand from Arts Council England, called Grants For The Arts, which some of them will be able to apply to (this is how we have gained a lot of our funding up until now). The private funding that the government is telling people to go for seems to be quite elusive at the moment, so we will have to wait and see whether there will be any incentives for philanthropy that will help the arts.

Arts Council England said that many good organisations would not get the funding and we can see some that do brilliant work around us who didn't get funding. It feels like getting really good exam results and then finding out that your best friend failed them...