Arts group protest to ACE chair
Locus + says grant cut is unfair.
A Newcastle based arts group have written to ACE chair Sir Nicholas Serota to protest at being dropped from the roster of funded organisations.
Locus +, which has been working with national and international artists for more than 20 years, says they have been denied a full explanation of the Arts Council’s reasoning. . It also claims that the cut comes despite the group meeting all the required criteria for grant aid.
The small organisation, which develops arts projects, publishes artists’ monographs and manages an archive of works from the 1970s, was told in June that Arts Council England was withdrawing its support. It follows a 42% cut in Arts Council funding from 2015.
The group says that “This decision has serious implications for the survival of the company and the long-term welfare of the Locus+ Archive as a regional and national asset.
We have requested an explanation from the Arts Council North East Office for both cuts, but in the two months since the decision to no longer fund Locus+ was announced, have not received clarity.”
In a letter to Sir Nicholas, Locus + chair, photographer John Kippin, says the current programme, which includes new commissions by Douglas Gordon, Anya Gallaccio and Richard Wright, is now in jeopardy.
A spokesman for Arts Council England said they had not yet received the letter , so it was not yet ready to comment.
A full version of the letter is below.
Dear Sir Nicholas Serota,
I am writing to you on behalf of the Trustees, staff and the many artists, individuals and institutions who have been supporters of the visual arts organisation Locus+ over many years.
As you know on June 27th Arts Council England announced it would no longer support Locus+ as a National Portfolio Organisation. This is despite the application being marked ‘met’ or ‘strongly met’ in all required areas. The reasons for this disappointing decision to withdraw support have still not been fully explained to us by the regional office.
Based in Newcastle upon Tyne, and established in 1993, Locus+ is a small and robust organisation of just two full time members of staff operating on modest resources, yet its reach is global. The organisation has an enviable track record and reputation for the quality of its commissioning of new works by artists at various stages of their careers, regionally, nationally and internationally. To date it has commissioned 145 works that have toured nationally and internationally and published over 37 artists’ monographs and publications.
The organisation has consistently doubled Arts Council investment year on year since its inception and commands a reputation for sound financial planning and project management, with a strong, supportive, yet critical Board of Trustees and active International Advisory Panel.
In addition, Locus+ has established and continues to maintain the largest archive of time-based work in Europe. It forms a comprehensive overview of contemporary art practice from the ‘70s to the present, covering artists’ projects from a variety of British and International contexts. This significant and valuable collection continues to grow.
The company took an unexpected (and unexplained) 42% cut in its revenue grant at the previous round of NPO applications (2015/16). This resulted in the loss of one member of staff and a major restructured plan for the immediate future. This plan has proven successful with strategic partnerships (public and private) formed in the North East, nationally and internationally resulting in over £300K of committed project funding for the next two years.
This confirmed Much has been made of an increase in support for organisations outside London with investment in artists, international ambitions and partnerships. We are at a loss to explain the Arts Council decision to artists, our advisors and the many supporters who have contacted us and feel we have no option but to request clarity from your office regarding this matter and positive guidance regarding future of the Archive.
If you require any further information on this matter please do not hesitate to contact me. We look forward to hearing from you.