Private investment in the arts reaches a record high

Private investment in the arts reaches a record high

News (UK)

Private sector funding of the arts reached a record £686m in 2007/08, an overall increase of 12% from the previous year, an Arts & Business Investment in Culture survey shows.

Individual investment rose by 25% to £382m. Although business investment fell by 7% to £163m, trust and foundation investment in the cultural sector increased by 7% from the previous year, to £141m.

“The cultural sector enters this downturn in a position of unprecedented strength,” said Colin Tweedy, chief executive of Arts & Business.

The rise in individual investment, which includes donations, legacies and friends schemes, drove the large overall increase because it represents 56% of private investment in the sector.

Trust and foundation grants made up 21% of private investment in the sector. Business investment includes cash and in-kind sponsorship, as well as corporate membership and donations, and awards and prizes. It represents 24% of overall private investment in the cultural sector.

The report explicitly challenged the idea that the economic downturn caused the drop in business investment in the arts. It said that the drop fits with the cycle of biannual falls in investment by businesses to the arts seen since 2002. However, it did acknowledge that the economy may have been a ‘contributing factor’.

“In this economic climate the challenges facing cultural organisations are immense and the cultural sector cannot remain immune in a global recession,” Tweedy acknowledged.

Different types of cultural organisations are varyingly reliant on private investment, the report shows. ‘Heritage’ organisations received the greatest share, over 30%, of private investment. Museums received over 18%, while crafts organisations received the least support from private investment, less than 0.1% of the total.

Private investment accounted for an average 13% of organisations’ total income in 2007/08. Public sector funding, including arts councils, local authorities and lottery funding, made up 54% of the total income of cultural organisations. A further 33% was raised via earned income, including ticket sales and trading.

“With a squeeze on public investment and a reduction in some private giving imminent, the key is to maintain long-term relationships, so the cultural sector can weather the storm,” Tweedy said.

The full report will be available on the Arts & Business website by the end of February.

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