Can U.S.-style philanthropy make up for U.K. arts funding cuts?

Posted on: March 4, 2010

In Thursday’s (3/4) Guardian (London), Charlotte Higgins reports, “The Tories acknowledge they will cut core arts funding—by how much, we do not know. Yet this admission is accompanied by the claim that over the course of a putative Tory parliament, arts funding will go up. … At the same time extra income is to come through private sources, and they look to the US’s philanthropic culture as an example. Arts organisations are to be encouraged to raise endowments. … But the US has a philanthropic tradition, embedded in its culture. We do not; nor can it be created in the span of a parliament. In America, endowments are being seriously questioned—and not just because the economic crisis has left many ‘underwater’. Jesse Rosen, the president of the League of American Orchestras, speaking at the annual conference for the Association of British Orchestras in Glasgow last week, warned British colleagues that though American donors of past generations may have deemed it the ‘right thing’ to give to their local museum or orchestra, privately raised income is diminishing now—in part because younger donors prefer to give to environmental or health charities.”

Posted March 4, 2010