We all know that as a country we have to tighten our belt and spend less. In Jeremy Hunt's first speech as Culture Secretary he said he could assure the arts community that it would not be a soft option for cuts though he also wanted to promote American style philanthropy within the art world.
There is now a bit of a stir in the arts world as cuts to arts funding in the region of 30-40% are expected. This article outlines what is ahead for the arts as the department of Culture Media and Sport are told to cut their staff by 35-50% (and when I was last there to meet Director of Culture Mick Elliott I was told half the staff were currently working on the Olympic preparations)
"Arts organisations are bracing themselves for a torrid time because Hunt wants to keep publicly-subsidised free entry to national museums, on the basis that it improves tourism and the wider creative economy. An initial trawl has also found little suggestion of waste or mismanagement in the preparation for the Olympics in 2012. This effectively leaves arts, media and heritage...
Arts Council England, which receives £445m to give out to 850 organisations around the country, has warned that it would have to stop funding for at least 200 organisations."
The Crafts Council are one of those 850 organisations receiving a grant of £2,808,584 this year. See the other 850 here
The arts community are obviously upset and feel this sets British culture back to the dark days of 25 years ago. This article is typical of the mood though a quick google search on "arts cuts" throws up dozens all saying similar.
And this is the environment into which the Heritage Crafts Association has launched itself and is going looking for funding...hmmmm not very promising perhaps. Having said that I have often prided myself that I survive in my own business with no public subsidy by making things which people like to use in their lives and are happy to pay for. Many traditional craftspeople I talk to have noticed little fall off in sales due to the economic downturn, perhaps folk recognise that it is time to stop buying masses of stuff that will be in landfill in a couple of years and they want fewer things but with a little more meaning.
I feel that recognising traditional crafts as part of our heritage and promoting them a little as such would not only give very good return on the investment and be great for tourism but also bring us in line with international heritage policy. Our current position which only recognises buildings and monuments as heritage is rather an anachronism.
If you like the idea join the HCA as a friend and help us make a difference.