Business investment in the arts has fallen by seven per cent in the Midlands – with cultural institutions already reeling from public sector cuts.
Private investment in culture in the West Midlands dipped to about £18.5 million last year, from £20.1 million in 2010, despite a 25 per cent increase in individual giving to £6.9 million.
The major fall came as a result of a decline in business investment, which now stands at £4.6 million, compared to just under £7 million the year before.
The reduction in income presents another blow to the region’s rich artistic heritage after Birmingham City Council slashed the money it gives arts bodies by 17 per cent and reduced the number of organisations across the city it funds from 22 to 11 a year ago.
The fall in investment in the region came despite Arts & Business figures showing four per cent overall growth in UK private sector investment in culture to £686 million.
Nadia Dooner, regional manager of Arts & Business Midlands, said the figures did hide some good news, and was keen to ensure positive partnerships were struck with businesses.
She said: “The Private Investment In Culture survey shows some positive news for Midlands arts in challenging times. While private sector investment is down by seven per cent to just over £18 million, there has been a significant rise in individual giving, which is extremely encouraging.
“Although the figures show a fall in business investment, Arts & Business is committed to supporting businesses with innovative ways of working with the sector, ensuring their arts partnerships really enhance their business.
“We believe enterprising collaboration between the arts and business is vital to contributing to the Midlands as a vibrant and prosperous place to live and work.”
The new data also shows income from trusts and foundations fell slightly to about £7.5 million last year.
The fall in private investment comes against a backdrop of declining public sector income for arts organisations. The government spending review resulted in swingeing cuts for the Arts Council, as well as the abolition of the UK Film Council, which heaped financial pressure on the sector.
Jonathan Moulds, Europe president of Bank of America Merrill Lynch and chair of the new Arts & Business Leadership Campaign, said: “These figures reveal that there remains an acute need to drive increased private investment into the arts.
“I look forward to working alongside other business leaders to help sustain and grow the funding and development of the arts in the UK. It is through partnerships and involvement at every level that we can embed real change.
“The arts are not an optional extra – they provide insight, creativity and opportunities to build self-esteem, all of which are necessary to make our society healthier and more vibrant.”
Arts & Business figures show across the UK there was an overall private investment increase of four per cent, which includes a 10 per cent increase of trusts and foundations funding, a six per cent increase of individual philanthropy, and a seven per cent decrease of business investment.
Private investment in arts in the Midlands now accounts for 2.7 per cent of the total private investment received in the UK arts sector, down from three per cent in last year’s survey.