Tom Keighley

Member Article

North East scores highly in arts health check

The North East is a region of arts lovers it seems, as new research shows engagement rates are high.

But the Arts Index, published by the National Campaign for Arts as an “annual health check” for the sector, shows huge disparity in index scores between English regions.

London has an average score that is 165 points higher than the North East, which is the second highest region.

The research showed there was an erosion of London’s dominant position between 2007 and 2010, although the change was suggested to be less linked to redistribution of public funds, and more to do with the bite of recession on index indicators.

Local Government funding was highest in the North East, of all the regions, averaging £11.38 per person.

After London, the region also scored highly across Lottery Funding, Business Contributions and Trust and Foundation funding, although the report said that in trying to raise funds from the private sector, the North East had been affected by the recession.

Adam Lopardo, director of The Sponsors Club, commented: “The Sponsors Club has been saying for nearly 10 years that the North East Business community has the highest investment per capita in the arts of any English region outside of London, so it’s great someone else has noticed.

The research showed Business contributions and individual giving fell by 17% and 13% respectively from 2007-2008 to 2009-2010, and the study said it was “worrying” that the Government intended cuts to be supplemented by philanthropic donations; particularly as the US equivalent of the Arts Index showed philanthropic giving had steadily declined over the past decade.

Elsewhere, employment in the sector fell, while salaries went up, indicating that arts organisations were scaling back at the same time as maintaining services.

There was an increase in volunteering in the arts from 1.7% in 2007 to 2008 to 1.9% in 2009 2010, with suggestion that this was attributable to the aging population, with more free time.

This publication does not cover the recent cuts to arts organisation, and so the next one is expected to highlight the 2011 squeezing.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Tom Keighley .

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