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Arts Council announces £180 million fund for smaller projects

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The Arts Council has decided to direct its funding towards existing organisations as part of an established move away from its past programme of building new, large-scale museums

The announcement follows the completion of a flurry of landmark, Arts Council-backed building projects this year – such as David Chipperfield’s Turner Contemporary gallery in Margate (pictured) and Hepworth Gallery in Wakefield.

The Arts Council’s £440 million budget for 2012 to 2015 will be invested in ‘flexible and targeted ways’ instead and will focus on helping existing arts facilities become more ‘sustainable and resilient businesses’.

Around £180 million has been earmarked for capital projects during the period with projects grants expected to range from £500,000 to £5 million.

An Arts Council spokesperson said: ‘It’s not a suddent departure. It’s about asking organisations to think creatively about what they could do to change their building and make it more sustainable.

‘Now is not the time for us to be building new buildings, there simply isnt the funds for it at the moment. However we have set aside £180 million for capital works.’

Arts Council England chief executive Alan Davey said: ‘Much of this new strategic funding comes from our Lottery income, following the Government’s decision to increase the share of Lottery money to the original four good causes.

‘The funding will allow the Arts Council to invest in flexible and targeted ways to help realise our priorities and ambitions for the arts, building on our core investment in the National Portfolio.

‘The aim is for the Arts Council to work alongside our National Portfolio, and other artistic and cultural organisations, to deliver our shared aims and ambitions for the arts.

‘I’m sure creative and ambitious organisations across the country will relish the chance to undertake work that ensures the arts keep pushing boundaries and play an even greater role in our national life.’

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