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EDITIONS
Friday, 14 February, 2003, 11:59 GMT
Arts council's funding boost
English National Opera
The ENO is among arts groups to benefit from funding
Spending on individual artists by the Arts Council of England is to nearly double to 25m over the next few years, officials have announced.

The organisation also said it would increase funding of the groups it already supports by a further 70m, to 300m by 2006.

The Arts Council says the drive is designed to place "the arts at the heart of national life".

The body has undergone several months of restructuring, merging with regional arts boards to form one central organisation.

Arts Council England's new logo
The organisation has spent 70,000 on a new logo
As a result it is expected to save nearly 20m during the next three years, chairman Gerry Robinson said.

A programme which encourages schoolchildren to develop their abilities will be expanded, with 32 schemes accounting for 45m.

It has also done away with complicated grants applications - instead of more than 100 separate application schemes there will be just five.

There will be a single central telephone number, and applicants will no longer have to approach various regional bodies seeking funding.

Our ambition is to place the arts at the heart of national life and we are planning a bold programme of investment to achieve that aim

Gerry Robinson Arts Council chairman
The council is working to make the body more culturally diverse to "reflect the make-up of Britain".

Mr Robinson declared that the arts had the power to transform lives.

"Our ambition is to place the arts at the heart of national life and we are planning a bold programme of investment to achieve that aim," he said.

Under the restructuring, the council's title will be truncated to Arts Council England from Monday.

It has employed an outside agency to carry out the rebranding at a cost of 70,000.

Mr Robinson said the money had been well spent.

"We needed to have a single logo and this will make us much more visible to the public," he said.

The council recently gave the English National Opera a lifeline with a multi-million pound grant.

ENO chairman Martin Smith has admitted that without the emergency funding the company would by now be in receivership.

See also:

22 Jan 03 | Entertainment
10 Feb 03 | England
30 Dec 02 | Entertainment
15 Nov 02 | N Ireland
15 Oct 02 | Entertainment
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