On 2 April Arts Council England published the second grants round from the Culture Recovery Fund.
£261,582,823 has been awarded to 2,272 organisations of which four are in Wales and one is in Scotland on account of the way that Arts Council England assigns geographical region by the postcode of the applicant, not the recipient.
A handful of organisations received grants of around £8,000 with slightly more receiving over £1 million, with Eastbourne Borough Council (theatre), Serpentine Galleries (visual arts) and York Archaeological Trust for Excavation and Research Ltd (museum) sitting at the top of the tree with just shy of £2 million each.
Some names on the list will look familiar, and there is probably a debate to be had about organisations double-dipping whilst others applying for a second time have for a second time gone away empty handed, but the background to the data has never been, and is not available, for that discussion to take place in this forum.
Similarly, there are clarifications to be sought regarding how funding allocated to a period ending 31 March 2021 came be announced in April and appears in some cases to be marked for summer events.
Of course, it can never be enough to get the industry back on track in anything like the time it took the pandemic to wreak its devastation, and it will take public confidence and decisive leadership, not just funding, to start to make things properly right again, but a sigh of relief is in order for the 2,272 recipients.
Amongst them, London's Riverside Studio (grant of £425,000) whose creative director Rachel Tackley has described the funding as a “lifeline”. “It has been an extremely tough year and I expect it isn’t over by a long way yet. However, we are indebted to the CRF and ACE for this support which will help Riverside establish a space where artists can perform and record their work for a global audience."
Bristol Old Vic artistic director Tom Morris has said of their £298,971 grant, “this investment allows us to plan our reopening and commission some of the artists whose work will reopen our theatre. The government has grasped the economic arguments about culture, what it offers to the international reputation of our country and how much it can contribute to our economic recovery and we are very grateful for that understanding."
Sadler's Wells has received a loan of £4,250,000 from the Culture Recovery Fund. Artistic director & CEO Alistair Spalding and executive director Britannia Morton said, “the Culture Recovery Fund loan ensures our continued survival and means we can look forward to welcoming audiences, artists, professionals and colleagues back to our theatres. We are very excited to be able to reopen with socially distanced performances."