Update: the Hayward Gallery will now reopen on the 1st August. Originally the Southbank Centre including the Hayward Gallery announced that they may close the gallery until April 2021. This was the result of the economic impact of COVID-19. The complex had drained much of its resources and is forecast a best-case scenario of a £5m loss at the end of the 2020/21 financial year. Arriving at this position, the organisation said they had used up all its reserves and faced a deficit. They needed £4m in support from the Government furlough scheme and had used the remainder of its annual grant from Arts Council England to effectively mothball the buildings.
The gallery will be open five days a week (11am – 7pm Wednesday – Saturday, and 10am – 6pm on Sunday) with free entry for NHS workers and tickets priced at £5 for Lambeth residents and those under 30.
Our staff have worked hard to ensure that reopening the Hayward Gallery is first and foremost safe – Ralph Rugoff
Ralph Rugoff, Director of the Hayward Gallery says: “Nature has played a large part in our lives throughout the pandemic, and I am delighted that the public will once again have the opportunity to see this exhibition of inspiring works by 37 artists, all of which invite us to think about the inspiring roles that trees and forests play in our lives and imaginations. Our staff have worked hard to ensure that reopening the Hayward Gallery is first and foremost safe, but also that viewing the works remains a deeply engaging and delightful experience. Both art and nature can play a vital role in our sense of well-being, and we’re looking forward to welcoming the public back into the Gallery.”
There will be a need to make some staff redundant and the organisation will cease to be a going concern before the end of the year if further urgent support is not secured. Despite being the UK’s largest arts and cultural organisation, the Southbank Centre confirms that there will be hardly any artistic activity throughout 2020/21 as to present anything like a normal range of events would have seen the losses rise to around £11m (after furlough support and ACE grant), given the restrictions that social distancing impose on the ability to realise workable ticket revenue.
The Southbank Centre released the initial findings of a new report by Hatch Regeneris, a leading, independent economics consultancy which illustrates the cultural and economic value of the Southbank Centre to the cultural sector. The Southbank Centre presents over 3,500 events a year – of which over 40% are free – and welcomes enough visitors to fill Wembley Stadium 50 times over. At its heart is the Royal Festival Hall – the iconic and only remaining building from the 1951 Festival of Britain, a Festival designed to be “a tonic for the nation” following the country’s endurance of the second world war.
As a key arts hub, the Centre works with international artists, gives a home to eight orchestras and supports grassroots cultural activity. An extensive creative learning programme reaches young people and families, the socially isolated, and those affected by homelessness, dementia and addiction. All of this work is now under significant threat.
The Southbank Centre’s annual Arts Council England grant represents just 37% of its income. While the arts charity has been extremely successful at replacing its declining public funding with earned income from ticket sales, bars, restaurants and other commercial activity that takes place across its site, this success now makes the Southbank Centre highly vulnerable. The mandatory closure of the venues, bars and restaurants has led to the immediate and catastrophic loss of 60% of its income.
With the likelihood of social-distancing measures remaining in place for many months to come, the venues are unlikely to be able to re-open until April 2021, as to do so on restricted capacities (30%) means the organisation would lose more money by opening than it would generate.
The Southbank Centre now called on the Government to: Extend the furlough scheme beyond October for the cultural sector; Develop a large scale intervention to support the arts sector as it navigates this crisis and which helps it survive and plan for the future; Support those self-employed artists and musicians who do not qualify under the current financial support schemes.
Alongside supporting over 7,000 FTE jobs in London’s cultural visitor economy, the Southbank Centre is an important cultural tourism asset. Around 1 in 10 of all London’s international visitors went to the Southbank Centre, along with 1 in 3 cultural tourists. The report notes that four out of five tourists to London cite “culture” as the major reason for their visit, and these visits support 80,000 jobs and £3.2 billion in Gross Value Added in the capital. This is supported by the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA) who note that the Centre is the UK’s fifth most visited attraction.
In addition, there is a growing body of evidence on wellbeing effects from engaging with the arts: the report estimates that given its local reach, the Southbank Centre supports in excess of £150 million in wellbeing value per annum for the UK.
The Southbank Centre’s own history is traced directly to the 1951 Festival of Britain. Here, the post-war government recognised how vital arts and culture were to the health and well-being of a traumatised nation. Just as the South Bank was a focal point of social and economic recovery then, we hope that we’ll emerge from this crisis.
Peter Mandelson, a Labour member of the House of Lords and the chairman of the Design Museum, said in parliament: “I say to the government: please do not just support the venerable publicly funded institutions, with their endowments and reserves, through this crisis, at the expense of the new. You also need to support the independent and hitherto privately funded entities, which the lockdown is depriving of all their revenue and pushing towards a precipice. If the government fails in this responsibility, museums such as the Design Museum will go under because they do not have a big enough financial cushion to fall back on.”
Among the Trees Hayward Gallery Reopening 1 August 2020 (30 & 31 July to Southbank Centre Members & Supporters)
Among the Trees celebrates key works of art that reimagine how we think about trees and forests. Illuminating their beauty and visually arresting character, the exhibition invites us to consider trees as both cultural symbols and living organisms. By turns poetic, adventurous and thought-provoking, it celebrates the tree’s enduring resonance as a source of inspiration for some of the most compelling contemporary artists of our time. Spanning the past 50 years, the exhibition brings together major works by 37 leading artists from across the globe.
Among the Trees covers an expansive and adventurous artistic terrain with works ranging from immersive video installations to life-sized sculptures; from large-scale paintings and
drawings to intimate black-and-white photographs. Participating artists are: Robert Adams, Eija-Liisa Ahtila, Yto Barrada, Johanna Calle, Gillian Carnegie, Tacita Dean, Peter Doig, Jimmie Durham, Kirsten Everberg, Simryn Gill, Rodney Graham, Shi Guowei, Hugh Hayden, Eva Jospin, Kazuo Kadonaga, William Kentridge, Toba Khedoori, Luisa Lambri, Myoung Ho Lee, Zoe Leonard, Robert Longo, Sally Mann, Steve McQueen, Jean-Luc Mylayne, Mariele Neudecker, Virginia Overton, Roxy Paine, Giuseppe Penone, Abel Rodríguez, Ugo Rondinone, George Shaw, Robert Smithson, Jennifer Steinkamp, Thomas Struth, Rachel Sussman, Pascale Marthine Tayou and Jeff.
The Hayward Gallery, part of the Southbank Centre, has a long history of presenting work by the world’s most adventurous and innovative artists including major solo shows by both emerging and established artists and dynamic group exhibitions. They include those by Bridget Riley, Martin Creed, Antony Gormley, Tracey Emin, Andy Warhol, Ed Ruscha, Jeremy Deller, Anish Kapoor, René Magritte, Francis Bacon and David Shrigley, as well as influential group exhibitions such as Africa Remix, Light Show, Psycho Buildings and Space Shifters. Opened by Her Majesty, The Queen in July 1968, the gallery is one of the few remaining buildings of its style. The Brutalist building was designed by a group of young architects, including Dennis Crompton, Warren Chalk and Ron Herron and is named after Sir Isaac Hayward, a former leader of the London County Council.
Top Photo: Oliver Malin © Artlyst 2020