Arts Council England announce £160m emergency response package to help creatives and “buoy public”

The funds will help artists and arts organisations stay afloat as they grapple with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic

Arts Council England have announced a £160 million emergency response package to help creatives during the coronavirus crisis.

The funds will be made available to help cultural organisations, freelancers and artists stay afloat in the wake of venue closures, cancelled events and more.

The package will be broken down into three different parts, with £20 million to be given to creative practitioners and freelancers, £90 million for the 828 organisations in the “national portfolio” including the National Theatre and smaller touring theatres, and £50 million for those organisations who fall outside of that portfolio.

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The money, which is also hoped will help artists create works “to buoy the public”, will be taken from ACE’s emergency reserves and a suspension of National Lottery project grants.

In a statement, ACE chair Sir Nicholas Serota said: “None of us can hope to weather this storm alone, but by working together in partnership, I believe we can emerge the stronger, with ideas shared, new ways of working, and new relationships forged at the local, national and even international level.”

Chief executive Darren Henley added: “Right now, our number one priority is to do everything we can to help individual artists and cultural organisations to stay afloat. It’s going to be tough, but we need them to be in the best possible shape to use their creativity to benefit people’s lives in villages, towns and cities across England once our communities begin the process of recovering from this terrible virus.

“This is a frightening time for all of us. But, as we distance ourselves from one another in our daily lives, I believe the role of arts and culture in helping to bring us all together will become ever more critical.”

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In the music world, gigs, tours and festivals have been cancelled or postponed across the world, while album releases have also been pushed back by the likes of Kelly Lee Owens, Haim, Lady Gaga, and Declan McKenna.

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