Britain's Tate museum calls on government for funding "contract"

Thu Sep 19, 2013 3:29pm EDT
 
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By Paul Casciato

LONDON (Reuters) - The Tate museum called for a five-year public funding "contract" with the British government on Thursday to help stabilize its role as a national repository of art in an era of declining public finances for culture.

The Tate - which comprises four main museums, 70,000 works of art and includes the most visited gallery of modern art in the world - said it required the commitment to provide clarity for its long-term financing plans.

Tate Trustees Chairman John Browne told reporters the Tate's "grant-in-aid" from the government was cut by 3.5 percent again this year, part of a steady reduction in funding for the arts across Europe in an age of austerity brought on by the 2008 global crash in financial markets.

"Our ability to rely on public funds is only going to decrease, which means the link between art grants and the public services we provide will need to be redefined," Browne said at the Tate's annual meeting.

The museum group received 31.5 million pounds ($50.60 million) of government funding money in 2012-13 and took in 56.4 million pounds from what it called "self-generated income" from its commercial activities, according to its annual report. It spent 40.7 million pounds on public programming.

Browne said a clear contractual arrangement with the government would help to unlock long-term and sustainable philanthropic sources of funding.

POWER STATION

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport said there had been a "good settlement for the arts" in the latest spending review and new measures to provide easier access to finance.   Continued...

 
Duncan Holden of the Tate poses with four paintings of Edvard Munch's "Weeping Woman" series at the Tate Modern in London's Southbank, June 26, 2012. REUTERS/Andrew Winning