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Wednesday, 15 December, 1999, 10:51 GMT
Cash boost for the arts

Whirling Dervishes The Arts Council want to encourage original dancers

The Arts Council has announced 500m of funding to be directed at individual young artists as well as the more established arts organisations.

The bulk of the money, to be distributed over the next two years, has been earmarked for contemporary music, black and Asian arts, touring theatre companies and individual artists.

It is all part of the Arts Council's drive to broaden the appeal of the arts, increasing their cultural diversity and audiences.

In the money
Royal National Theatre
London Symphony Orchestra
Disabled performers
Black and Asian arts
Contemporary music
Touring companies
Non-traditional venues
On Tuesday a survey showed young people in particular were unlikely to attend arts events, seeing them as the preserve of the old and rich.

Arts Council chairman Gerry Robinson said the budget marked "a major step forward" for the organisation in opening up the arts to a wider audience.

"Among those that will receive above average increases are some of the long-established larger companies, as well as younger, smaller organisations," he said.

"We want to show that if arts are well funded then everyone, artists and audiences alike, reaps the benefits."

Dance Umbrella

Among the larger organisations to benefit are the Royal Court, the Royal National Theatre and the London Symphony Orchestra.

Smaller ones include the Walsall Art Gallery and dance company Dance Umbrella.

Over the next two years at least 500,000 will be invested in supporting black and Asian arts in England.

Extra funds: The Royal National Theatre gets a boost
The aim is to encourage work from culturally diverse artists, generate new audiences for black and Asian arts and increase the number of people employed in this sector.

The Royal National Theatre will enjoy a 6.7% increase for 2000/2001 with a budget of 12,982,000 and a 2.9% increase for the following year, boosting its potential spending to 13,357,960.

The London Symphony Orchestra will receive an additional 150,000 a year, in addition to the base grant awarded by the London Arts Board.

CandoCo, an organisation dealing with disabled performers, will also experience a welcomed financial boost with increases of 24.2% in 2000/2001, bringing it budget to 115,112.

It will receive a 5.5% jump the following year, taking its budget to 121,443.

'Long term perspective'

In addition an extra 300,000 a year has been set aside for theatre for young people and 600,000 for touring productions in England, Wales and Scotland.

There is also an extra 100,000 for contemporary music and 250,000 for seven leading dance artists.

By focusing on excellence, we aim to ensure the best of the arts of all kinds are available to as many people as possible
Peter Hewitt
Some 1.5 million will go to, a virtual space for exhibiting and providing information about the arts.

The Arts Council also launched an advocacy programme aimed at highlighting the work of selected organisation who are doing quality work.

This could be in leading edge contemporary practice, education and social exclusion or in producing new and challenging art for new audiences.

Arts Council chief executive Peter Hewitt said the organisation had taken "a long-term perspective" on the future of the arts.

"By focusing on excellence, we aim to ensure the best of the arts of all kinds are available to as many people as possible," he said.

"Taken together with the other elements of our financial strategy, this budget marks a new chapter in arts funding in England."

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