There is more private sector money reaching the arts in the West Midlands than ever before, a report has found.
According to figures published yesterday in the Arts & Business Private Investment in the Arts report, private support in the region has grown by 61.5 per cent above inflation to £18.86 million.
The news comes just a day after Culture Minister Margaret Hodge called on wealthy city workers to dig deeper into their pockets and step up their charitable giving to the arts.
In a speech delivered at the Royal Festival Hall this week, Ms Hodge said: "In the last five years, the City's share of the national wealth cake doubled.
"Just imagine what that could have meant for the ecology of the arts if their contribution to our cultural heritage had also doubled."
Figures released by the charity were compiled from data looking at more than 4,676 arts organisations in 2006-07.
They presented a stark contrast to the £0.6 million invested in 1976, when Arts & Business was founded.
The report found the West Midlands was second only to London, with investment from individuals in the region up 17.5 per cent to £2.3 million.
In addition corporate sector investment in the area saw a 4.2 per cent rise to £4.4 million and Trusts and Foundations were up 121.6 per cent to £12.1 million.
Jorj Jarvie, director of external relations at City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, said the report's "dramatic" statistics showed businesses in the West Midlands really understood the value of culture.
She said: "We are making great strides towards creating a mixed economy for arts organisations. This is crucial to the continued health of the sector".
Although the West Midlands showed an impressive increase in funding, the report revealed London remained the epicentre of the growth. The capital now accounts for 64 per cent of all private investment in the arts.
In Scotland, the figure was 49.7 per cent and 48.1 per cent for the North West.
Colin Tweedy, chief executive of Arts & Business, added: "Sponsorship is rising, private giving is rising and trusts and foundations are also maintaining their year-on-year growth rate.
"These figures show the hugely significant contribution the private sector makes to the success of the arts in the West Midlands.
"Arts & Business still has much to do to grow, sustain and encourage additional private sector investments.
"A&B's message to business is, 'be bold and use the talent and creativity that is out there in the arts world to grow your brands and your business'."
Other key findings of the research included the fact only 10 per cent of arts organisations in the UK showed private investment representing more than 50 per cent of their income.
A total 78 per cent of arts organisations received private investment. Of those who did not receive any private investment, 73 per cent - up from 65 per cent in 2005-06 - did not ask for any.
Theatre investment is up to £68 million, museums are up to £86 million and festivals are up to £25 million. Investment in dance, however, was down to less than £8 million. Opera, library, visual arts, music and literature all saw a drop in investment.