Last December the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) announced cuts of £11.6 million to Arts Council England (ACE) funding. This was followed by a 30% budget reduction in 2010. Local councils have also reduced their contributions to arts programs in the past year, with some local councils cutting their funding by 50%. As a result of these austerity measures the Government has encouraged public philanthropy as a way of preventing crisis in the arts. This is an easy way out for the Government who have redirected public funding to other pet projects such as the technology sector, where millions have be spent.
Now a new scheme to encourage public donations to arts institutions using a mobile phone has been backed by the Government.
It was first announced last summer by the former culture minister Jeremy Hunt and will be actioned nationally by the end of 2013. Culture minister Ed Vaizey showed his support by saying it was; “A great idea” to begin “harnessing new technologies”. The project, involves 12 theatres and art galleries and hopes to raise much needed cash by using text messaging to directly donate to the institutions. Visitors to exhibitions and theatres will be invited to text donations using their mobile phone while they are actually visiting the venues.
Sir Paul Ruddock, of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, said it was important to “make it easy for visitors to give and show their appreciation”. The scheme will also be active at the Tate Galleries ,the National Gallery, British Museum and The Gateshead Baltic.