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‘Arts must try harder to attract philanthropy’ – Ed Vaizey

Ed Vaizey. Photo: Stephanie Methven
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Culture minister Ed Vaizey has criticised arts organisations that do not feel they can raise money through philanthropy, labeling it “pathetic” that some companies feel their location restricts them from seeking donors’ support.

The minister said he thought it was “very realistic” that arts organisations could turn to philanthropy to raise more funding, adding: “There is no reason why they [arts organisations] can’t raise philanthropic funds. Too many think, ‘We live in an area where rich people don’t live’…which is pathetic, quite frankly.”

Vaizey added that some arts organisations do not do enough to nurture relationships with donors, claiming some see the receipt of a donor’s cheque as the end of the process.

“But in my view it begins with a cheque,” he said, adding that any arts organisation that said philanthropy could not work was “completely misinformed”.

The culture minister also said that arts organisations should see philanthropy as a “chance to embed themselves in the community rather than something they have to do because the government is cutting [them]”.

He also said that arts organistions’ grants should be “more clearly tied” to their ability to support themselves financially.

His comments come after culture secretary Sajid Javid this week that he would be “encouraging philanthropists to support culture right across the UK”.

Vaizey was addressing the culture, media and sport committee today as it looked into the work of Arts Council England.

Addressing MPs, he said that the current level of spending on the arts by the government “remains pretty generous”.

“I think you only have to look around at the quality of arts in this country to see we are in a good situation,” he said.