ACE decides: Share your grant with 3 others, some orgs will die

ACE decides: Share your grant with 3 others, some orgs will die


norman lebrecht

March 31, 2020

Arts Council England has published details of its Emergency Response Package.

Among other things in its CEO’s message:

... For individual artists, we made a simple calculation: in the place of a single £10k grant from our Developing Your Creative Practice fund, we could invest £2.5k in four different artists, to help them through the weeks to come. We believe that, for now, this is the fairest and most compassionate way to move forward, and we have set aside £20m for this element of our emergency response.

We know that disabled artists have been particularly impacted by this crisis; you can read more here about the steps we’re taking to support them. We also know cultural workers such as performers and technicians are struggling, and we’re also announcing a set of grants to a range of benevolent funds today in order to help them (more on that here). Between these initiatives, the support that will reach them through our emergency funds for National Portfolio Organisations and organisations outside our Portfolio, and the help promised by the Chancellor, we hope our most vulnerable artists and cultural workers will be able to continue to work after this crisis is over.

The changes of the last two weeks have been sudden and seismic, and our response can only do so much.  We simply won’t be able to help everyone.  Some organisations will topple, and we will only be able to support a small proportion of the individuals we would like to help.  What’s more, we’re aware that the whole package we’ve produced, to which we’ve committed all of our reserves, will only see us through the immediate future.  

Read on here.



  • Elizabeth Owen says:

    £2.5 k, and what if their mortgage is over a thousand which is perfectly possible in a large city, it will only keep people going for a month, try again ACE.

    • V.Lind says:

      I think they have tried. It’s an unhappy situation all round, but their own resources are limited and I thought they made a decent fist of explaining how they are trying to help. If a thousand keeps a mortgage paid for a month, ten pays it for four. And the other three people get nothing. What exactly do you propose they do? And with what?

      There is far too ready a willingness here to blame every institution for what it is proposing to do to try to survive. This is a dramatic, sudden and fluid situation and few are untouched by it. All sorts of companies, industries, businesses are going to face crisis, and some are going to fail. I think most are trying their best. Some will succeed, others will not. But there may be some rebuilding in the future.

      But no given institution has the solution to all the problems it will face. Stop acting as if the ACE should, or could, solve the problems of every artist in England. It did not cause this crisis, and it does not have the resources to fund everyone.

      • Elizabeth Owen says:

        I’m not and by the way there is no definite article. But all they are doing is giving artists money for at the most two months, there must be something else like cutting money elsewhere and re-routing it to talented people and not civil servants like the DCMS. Never seen the point of them when we have four arts councils it’s duplication especially as most of them are not arts specialists. And yes I used to work there so for once I do know what I’m talking about!

  • NightFlight says:

    This has been an exceptionally swift and welcome response by the arts council. To free up £160m that quickly is impressive. But let’s not kid ourselves, the arts on the other side of this will look very, very different. The decisions they take on who to support will have significant repercussions