A new organisation has launched to champion the Arts in the UK.
Called Campaign for the Arts, the organisation comes from the merging of two existing bodies – the National Campaign for the Arts and the Public Campaign for the Arts.
The combined organisation has a supporter-base of over a quarter of a million people, including celebrity supporters such as Stephen Fry, Meera Syal, Gary Lineker, Grayson Perry, Lauren Laverne and Philip Pullman, and aims to champion, defend and expand access to the arts and culture, for and with the public.
Following Covid, the Arts and culture sector in the UK has been left severely exposed, and the energy and cost-of-living crisis is further compounding the affects for artists, audiences and organisations.
A new survey called Theatres Beyond the Stage by the University of Essex recently surveyed 2,000 people, and over 20% said they are booking theatre less since the pandemic, and 18% said they had not booked a theatre ticket at all.
Campaign for the Arts plans to use digital tools and its UK-wide network to start new initiatives to inform the public, express support and engage more and new people.
It will also continue the Hearts for the Arts awards, recognising exceptional arts initiatives in local government since 2017, and the Arts Index, which analyses the health of the UK’s arts and culture. It also plans to further develop the Arts Map, a pandemic initiative for people to check the reopening status of cultural organisations near them.
Samuel West, formerly Chair of the NCA, becomes a Trustee of Campaign for the Arts; Jack Gamble, formerly Director of the PCA, becomes CEO.
Samuel West said in a statement:“The impact of the pandemic, the cost-of-living crisis and the prospect of further austerity are just some of the pressing challenges facing the arts. But this merger puts us in the strongest possible place. Together, we will campaign to ensure that the arts are available from childhood, accessible to all and thriving everywhere.”
Jack Gamble said: “This merger gives me hope at an extremely difficult time. Creative subjects are being stripped from our state schools, inequality of opportunity is rife and the arts sector is having to contend with unprecedented challenges. No one person can turn the tide – we need to do it together. That’s why we’re joining up to form the Campaign for the Arts, and why every supporter of our campaign really matters.”
Campaign for the Arts is also looking for new people to join its Board of Trustees.