Arts Funding Debate

19 October 2015

Rt Hon Lord Smith of Finsbury (Chris Smith) at the RBSA

The RBSA was delighted to host the Chairman of the Art Fund, Chris Smith, for an informative discussion regarding the future of arts funding. The RBSA’s Patron Viscountess Penny Cobham led the debate, reflecting on both the changes regarding funding over recent years as well as how to move forward.

As the UK's inaugural culture secretary, Chris talked the audience through the challenges he faced in striving for one of his primary aims: to restore free admission to public galleries. Chris also discussed his work with the Art Fund, which he stressed is very much a campaigning organisation, arguing that private funding cannot plug the gap created from cuts.

Our guests in attendance included Directors of the Barber Institute of Fine Arts, Birmingham Museums Trust and the New Art Gallery Walsall, who raised important points about what may happen to collections at museums facing closure as well as the on-going imbalance for regional funding in comparison to London.

The 'take away' message was the emphasis of the importance of advocacy for the arts with our local MPs, which highlights the role each individual can play in supporting funding for culture across the UK. 

We would like to thank Viscountess Penny Cobham, Lord Chris Smith and Rob Neil PRBSA.

Chris Smith debate