The prospects for London’s arts and culture scene have never looked so grim. Many organisations are struggling to survive with little or no audiences, shuttered venues, and no end in sight to lockdown restrictions. But there is some good news: hundreds of arts organisations across the capital have been told they will receive emergency funding as part of the government’s £1.57bn Cultural Recovery Fund.
This first round of funding from the Cultural Recovery Fund has been awarded to 1,385 organisations across the country, 428 of which are in London. They include theatres, museums, orchestras and music venues. The grants are being distributed via Arts Council England to organisations that successfully applied for less than £1m of funding to prevent their immediate collapse.
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said the money will help cultural venues and organisations get back on their feet and protect jobs and venue closures.
The amount of emergency funding given varies for each recipient. Wigmore Hall, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Secret Group (that runs Secret Cinema), Ministry of Sound and Shoreditch’s Rich Mix cultural centre have all received the highest injections of cash in London – each getting over £970,000.
Theatres and arts centres like the Almeida, The Lyric Theatre, Donmar Warehouse, Wilton’s Music Hall, Clapham Grand, Hackney Empire and Battersea Arts Centre have also received funding. As have small museums like the Charles Dickens Museum, Florence Nightingale Museum, Brunel Museum, The Garden Museum and the Jewish Museum.
It’s also particularly great to see some of London’s smaller, grassroots organisations on the list, like The Glory, LGBTQ+ group Sink The Pink, Reprezent Radio, Some Voices choir, Shubbak Festival and Art Night, which are all responsible for putting on some of the most cutting-edge events in London.
The Clapham Grand, which has received £300,000 of funding, said in response: ‘We are incredibly lucky to have been given this lifeline and are incredibly happy. We will now concentrate all our efforts on making sure we make The Clapham Grand the best possible venue we can, a home for everyone to come and be entertained, escape reality and leave laughing – having made memories, friendships and experiences to last lifetimes.’
Corsica Studios said: ‘These funds will save jobs, provide opportunities for artists and musicians and enable us to continue programming fantastic music at Corsica in a Covid-safe space.’
The director of Art Night, Philippine Nguyen, said: ‘We are very relieved to receive funding [...] without this lifeline, we would really struggle to keep Art Night going for its fifth edition next summer.’
It’s worth noting that freelancers who are pivotal to London’s culture scene will miss out on the cash support, and the organisations whose applications for funding were not accepted will still have huge worries for their futures.
Still, it’s some brilliant news for the short-term future of some much-loved London cultural institutions.
To see a full list of the organisations that successfully received funding, visit the Arts Council website.
In other good news: EFG London Jazz Festival is happening (blessed be the trumpets).