ADUK welcomes the Committee investigating the success of the arts sector in Wales at increasing its non-public funding, the distribution of non-public arts funding in Wales, and identifying international models of best-practice that Wales could look to emulate in this regard.

Our membership consists of local authority arts services, Arts Council of Wales portfolio organisations, cultural trusts, cultural consultants, artists and arts organisations – those at the interface between arts and the community.  ADUK supports its members to identify non-public funding avenues through the inclusion of a ‘Funding Information’ section in our weekly E-zine and the Funding section on our website. We also provide opportunities for our members to network regionally and nationally, to attend our programme of seminars and conferences, and to share skills and knowledge of other members through our online Skills and Knowledge Bank.

We believe that the sector in Wales actively seeks opportunities to increase income, philanthropy and investment. Through conversation with our members however, we also believe that the cultural sector needs further knowledge, advice and support to effectively identify and secure these opportunities. In an increasingly competitive funding market, where grants are difficult to access without considerable fundraising experience, there are a number of organisations without either time or experience to bid, or who need a range of support mechanisms to achieve additional resources to support arts and creative product.

Arts Council of Wales’ Resilience Programme is supporting its portfolio clients to increase their income generation, but what of the rest of the arts sector?  Arts & Business go some way in supporting the whole sector through training courses that cover areas such as fundraising, sponsorship and business development. They also offer a Board Bank Scheme whereby the skills of people in member business organisations are matched to strengthen the Board skills of arts organisation.  There are also a programme of information and training sessions offered by Voluntary Arts Wales.  Aside from these, the cultural sector needs to attract the support of highly skilled and knowledgeable business individuals that are at present underutilised.

ACW portfolio clients have different needs to local community arts groups, but for the sector to be sustainable and resilient, the needs of all within it need to be addressed.  Many community groups require support to generate revenue from membership and other services/activities, which could then be utilised to access training, increasing their marketing and promotion skills.  Some local authority arts services offer support, advice and signposting to such groups. We are aware that the cultural sector is supportive of each other; however, what more can we learn from other sectors?

Knowledge, advice and support is key for the sector, and is obtainable through training, peer support programmes, skills-sharing, and learning from cross-sector and sector-specific practise from within Wales and beyond.  What are the examples from across the globe from countries with a similar demographic and geography to Wales?  What’s the status of their arts sector and its sourcing of non-public funding?  

Although increasing self-generated income for the sector in Wales is possible, it is a struggle within a country that has deep pockets of deprivation. For the majority, opportunities to engage with and participate in the arts are free or low cost, many being subsidised by public funding. Many expect these opportunities to remain free or low cost, decreasing generating earned income opportunities through ticket sales and participation fees. 

We believe that the societal value placed on the arts needs to be addressed so that people are willing to pay to engage with and participate in arts provision. In comparison, it appears that society’s value of sport enables it to earn income via these means.  Economically, the demand versus supply within the sports sector appears well-balanced; is supply outweighing demand within the arts sector or is there a need to create a demand for the arts in Wales that enables opportunity to increase earned income in the sector?  For example, venues such as the Wales Millennium Centre (WMC) are able to earn income by programming popular touring UK musicals; yet, new musical work is a struggle to make and sell.  The popular musical programme has a fan-base, reputation, and a strong brand that creates a demand for its supply in Wales.  How can we translate this to new musical work?  This question can also be asked of other art forms.

ADUK believes that although philanthropy is a means by which the sector can increase its non-public funding, we would question how realistic this is in a country that has a low level of wealth compared to the rest of the UK.  Even so, if the sector were able to profile the value of the arts and its contribution to society, this may motivate giving to the sector.  Aside from monetary gestures, the sector could benefit from philanthropy in terms of time, advice and expertise from those skilled in decreasing dependency on public money.

In terms of investment in the sector, once again, as with earned income and philanthropy, the value of the arts requires a bigger presence and profile across society.  What is the motivator for investing in the sector beyond areas (e.g. digital) that could potentially turn a profit? For the sector to have increased investment it needs to highlight a worthwhile return. This may be possible for larger institutions within the sector, but what of the community arts organisations and more localised providers?

We believe that further promotion of and support to source and secure funding from trusts and foundations is required, raising awareness of the potential to fund provision through currently under-accessed avenues.  In sourcing funding for Gwyl Grai / Rawffest, the Youth Arts Festival for Wales, we have applied to numerous trusts and foundations across the UK with a low success rate.  RawFfest has a growing profile and would seem likely to be supported by trusts and foundations but the reality of the situation is that much time and resources need to be applied, with only a moderate return from this area.  There is much work still to be done to profile the work and outline the benefits of funding from trusts and foundations to the arts sector in Wales.  Alongside this, we have also run Crowdfunding campaigns, on both occasions generating a low level of funding.  We are sure that many others have also experienced difficulties sourcing funding through these avenues.  It was resource heavy to complete applications and undertake the campaigns, and all resulting in securing a relatively small amount of funding.  With this is mind, how is a sector that already feels under-resourced going to find the capacity to undertake this, for what, at present, seems a very low rate of success? 

Gwyl Grai / Rawffest is a collaboration between ADUK, Youth Arts Network Cymru (YANC), Newport Live!, Venue Cymru and WMC.  Collaboratively, Gwyl Grai / Rawffest is able to access funding that may not have been accessible to partners as individual organisations.  Further collaborations within the sector include ClymuCelf / ArtsConnect, between the local authority arts services of Rhondda Cynon Taf, Vale of Glamorgan and Caerphilly County Borough Councils, Awen Cultural Trust (Bridgend), Merthyr Tydfil Leisure Trust, and Arts Active (Cardiff).  Collaboration has meant that these organisations have been able to pool resources to access funding for joint initiatives. 

There is also potential to learn from models such as IndyCube, enabling those within the sector with ownership of buildings to: a) earn income through renting their spaces; b) develop new collaborations, through providing these spaces to artists and arts organisations and encouraging networking.  Although there is potential in this, there’s the caveat that sometimes artists and arts organisations expect space as in-kind contributions to a partnership, such as Gwyl Grai / Rawffest expects of WMC for its festival in 2018.

Furthermore, the human resource within the sector, although at times working under pressure or as a result of limited financial resources, has considerable experience of partnership working or raising funding from outside sources to make ends meet. Arts officers are often well-skilled and experienced in the potential of generating income and working with limited financial resources to produce professional outcomes. Arts officers are also very experienced practitioners in supporting cross-cutting agendas, using arts to aid other development services such as education, health, regeneration, social services, support for elder people and crime prevention, often working in disadvantaged areas with communities that others find difficult to reach. Local government arts officers and those working within arts organisations could sell on their expertise in advising non-arts bodies, such as Health Boards and Housing Associations, on how to use the arts to meet their objectives and achieve their outcomes.  However, the caveat to this is that their expertise are often under-valued by those in other sectors, and a there is a common perception that arts projects can be devised by anyone, regardless of their experience, training and expertise.  As previously noted, the awareness of the value of the arts to society needs addressing, and Welsh Government could certainly play a role in advocating for the knowledge that there is within the arts sector.