1.  Introduction

1.1.   Art Fund welcomes the invitation to contribute to the Culture, Welsh Language and Communications Committee’s inquiry into non-public arts funding.

1.2.   Our response is focused on our areas of expertise and as such as we submit evidence of Art Fund or Art Fund-assisted initiatives to increase non-public funds to museums and galleries.

1.3.   For further information, please contact Karen Wright, Art Fund’s Policy and Public Affairs Manager, at kwright@artfund.org.

2.          Who are we?

2.1.   Art Fund is the national fundraising charity for art. In 2016 we gave over £4.7m to help museums and galleries acquire works of art for their collections, with £217.8k of this awarded to museums and galleries in Wales. We help museums share their collections with wider audiences by supporting a range of tours and exhibitions. For example, we assisted Tate to acquire Constable’s Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows and funded the Aspire partnership to tour the work across six UK venues, including National Museums Cardiff in 2014. We also award grants to support the training and professional development of curators. We are independently funded, with the core of our income provided by 123,000 members who receive the National Art Pass and enjoy free entry to over 240 museums, galleries and historic places across the UK, as well as 50% off entry to major exhibitions and subscription to Art Quarterly magazine. In addition to grant-giving, our support for museums includes Art Fund Museum of the Year (won by the Hepworth Wakefield in 2017) and a range of digital platforms, including our crowdfunding platform Art Happens.

3.          Examples of innovative approaches to raising non-public funding for the arts

3.1.   Alongside a climate of economic uncertainty and public funding cuts[1] , museums and galleries are increasingly expected to boost their income by becoming more commercially minded and by attracting philanthropy. We are therefore pleased to share with the Committee three examples of Art Fund or Art Fund-assisted projects which support museums to diversify their funding streams.

3.2.   It should be noted however, that while there is both opportunity for - and a real benefit of – increasing private funding for the arts, we recognise that these alternative income streams will not be sufficient to substitute the vital contribution of public funding.

Sheffield Museums’ Going Public project

3.3.   Sheffield Museums launched their Going Public: International Art Collectors in Sheffield project in 2015 to examine how UK museums outside of London can better attract philanthropy. The project continued in 2016 with Art Fund support, and we are also supporting the return of the project in 2017.

3.4.   Findings from Going Public reveal that philanthropy must be part of a sustainable and mixed funding economy, and should be considered additional to –rather than replacing - public funding. Other findings include the need for curators to develop the fundraising, stakeholder management, and advocacy skills required to attract philanthropy (and also to make the case for public funding), and the necessity for museums to build fruitful relationships with and beyond the cultural sector.

3.5.   Despite the projectdemonstrating that there is real interest from high net worth individuals to support museums, Going Public found that further work is needed to clarify the routes to philanthropy. Although the UK has a relatively sophisticated range of incentives to encourage charitable giving, they are, as highlighted in the 2014 Charities Aid Foundation report Give Me a Break, often archaic, more complicated and fragmented, and therefore levels of awareness of the various methods of tax-efficient giving remain relatively low. Art Fund is working with a wide range of stakeholders looking at ways to simplify and clarify the routes to philanthropy and make giving more efficient and attractive.

Art Fund’s Art Happens crowdsourcing platform for museums and galleries

3.6.   Art Happens is the UK's first free online crowdfunding platform designed especially for museums and galleries. The platform stems out of our desire to share our 100+ years of fundraising experience with museums to fundraise for a project. Since its launch in 2014, 29 museums and galleries have successfully raised over £475k to stage exhibitions, create new commissions and make important restorations. Moreover, however, by taking part in Art Happens, our partner museums have developed vital fundraising, digital marketing and networking skills that will continue to benefit them far into the future.

3.7.   Recently, the Nantgarw Chinaworks Museum raised £15,410 from 119 funders through Art Happens to recreate William Billingsley’s secret recipe for his fragile Nantgarw porcelain.

Art Fund’s Art Tickets – aggregated ticket management system for museums and galleries

3.8.   Following a successful beta phase of our prototype ticket management system, Art Tickets, we have now secured funding to upscale the system to offer a new way for hundreds of museums to harness the opportunity afforded by online sales. The idea for Art Tickets was born out of our internal research (which surveyed 220 UK museums and galleries who sold tickets for permanent collections, exhibitions or both) which revealed that just 10% of museum tickets are sold online and that 45% of charging museums have no online ticketing capability – thus missing out on a vital source of income and audience intelligence.

3.9.   We are therefore launching our scaled-up Art Tickets system to better support the sector, and provide a cost efficient way for museums to sell their tickets to customers, foster the sharing of data between institutions, and build a database of museum ticket buyers for use in cross-marketing or generating additional income for museums.

[1] The Museums Association’s Museums in the UK 2017 report highlights that local authority revenue spending on culture, heritage, libraries and leisure services in Wales fell by 26% in real terms between 2010 and 2016. The report also discovered that 64% of museum respondents in Wales reported a cut to their public income in 2015/16.