Kevin McKidd joins fight against Moray arts cuts

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Trainspotting star Kevin McKidd has joined 51 Moray-based artists and arts professionals who have signed an open letter to Moray Council, arguing for a rethink of the recently announced 100% cut to its arts budget.

The letter points out that arts funding is not for individuals, but provides community support. It also counters claims by council leader Allan Wright concerning engagement with the cultural community prior to the cuts being announced.

According to the letter: "Arts development money doesn't support individual artists - this small pot of money supports the arts within the community therefore supporting the community itself, and very often the most vulnerable groups within the community.

"We ask Moray Council to reconsider and to come up with alternatives that will continue to support the growth of the Arts sector, and hence encourage the material and intellectual life of the region."

One signatory Chris Lee, writer and director with the Wildbird arts company, told The Stage that the council did not consult with the professionals who are involved in delivering arts in Moray.

He said that while Allan Wright claimed that 33 arts groups were emailed during the council consultation, 32 were voluntary clubs and organisations. These, he said, do not represent the buoyant and professional arts sector that provides creative learning opportunities to communities across Moray. Only one of the area's eight professional theatre companies was invited to comment.

While the letter calls for Moray Council to reconsider in general terms, the focus is on the role of the arts development officer, whose removal will save the council £98,000 over two years.