Arts Council England has said it anticipates responding to the Covid-19 pandemic for the next four years, as it lays out a timeline for its role in the sector’s recovery.
ACE has published a three-stage response to the crisis, with the third phase, which it is describing as the "reset phase", extending until March 2024.
In his latest blog, ACE chief executive Darren Henley said the Arts Council wanted to share its plan to counter the "protracted impact" of coronavirus over a longer period of time. He said the body was now moving out of the initial response period, which comprised the £160 million emergency fund, into what it describes as the "stabilisation phase".
Henley said this would focus on supporting the organisations it funds "to adapt business models and to reopen when it is safe to do so", and estimated that it would continue until March next year.
The subsequent, three-year reset phase will begin the implementation of ACE’s 10-year strategy, which was announced in January, while also working on the sector’s long-term survival post-coronavirus.
Henley acknowledged that the coming months will pose a "more complex question" about how the arts can endure the crisis, and warned that "the end is not yet in sight".
"It’s sadly inevitable, at this point, that many businesses, in many sectors, will be unable to weather such a fierce and lengthy storm. And there is no evidence to suggest that the cultural sector will be any different. We know there is far to go, and that challenges and further losses lie ahead," Henley said.
The lack of revenue and ongoing uncertainty is having a "devastating impact" across the arts, Henley said. He conceded that the government’s furlough scheme and its own emergency funding, while helping to limit the immediate damage, "haven’t stretched to everyone, and they only speak to the present or the very near future".
"In order to begin planning further ahead, we now need to have the most up-to-date information on the full extent of the current damage, and to understand the scope of the challenges ahead.
"I have absolute faith in the ability of artists, arts organisations, museums and libraries to respond bravely and creatively to this crisis, in order to move towards recovery, but I recognise too that you need support to afford you the time and space to help increase the likelihood of success," he said.
The Arts Council will contribute to several of the working groups that will feed into the government’s Cultural Renewal taskforce, on which ACE chair Nicholas Serota will also sit. Henley said ACE would also be conducing further surveys on the ongoing impacts of Covid-19.
"By working together in a coordinated way, by developing good evidence and by communicating it to the government, we are most likely to receive the right support, at the right time," he said.