Arts Fund report:
The Arts Fund has just published the first-ever report on national museums & arts galleries policy and acquisitions, a decade after Labour scrapped dedicated acquisition grants. The report (not yet online) finds that the joint government and Heritage Lottery Fund policy – for a PC-flavoured anti-elitist “access, social inclusion, outreach and education” agenda – is diverting large amounts of scarce money away from museum art collections, and thus causing the national degradation and neglect of our museums. Around 280 museums have been forced to simply abandon any active policy of collecting, with only about 10 percent still able to set aside money to buy new works. The Louvre annually spends more on buying art than every single gallery and museum in the UK put together. Museums and galleries in the East and West Midlands were shown to be the poorest, something that Terry Grimley of The Birmingham Post has been saying for years. ‘What about donations’, you say? The Treasury has recently rejected the idea of decent tax breaks for people to sell/donate works to museums. Twice.