A number of small Birmingham cultural groups have seen their funding halved as the city council looks to shave almost £2 million from its art spending.
A total of 11 organisations were affected by the 50 per cent cut, which will serve as a transitional payment before their funding ceases completely. They will then have to bid for cash from an expanded £365,000 arts funding pool.
The organisations affected include Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, Craftspace, Birmingham Jazz, Big Brum, Women & Theatre, Sound It Out, ACE Dance, Tindal Street Press, Stan’s Cafe, Fierce and RBSA
Twelve major organisations, including the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Thinktank, the Birmingham Rep Theatre, Birmingham Royal Ballet, Ikon Gallery, Ex Cathedra and the Drum will see their council funding cut by between nine and 23 per cent - but many of these recieve additional funding from the Arts Council, ticket sales and other grants.
Annual arts funding will reduce from just over £12 million a year to almost £10.2 million a year for the next three years.
The subsidy to the Town Hall and Symphony Hall cut from £3.25 million to £2.5 million, or 23 per cent. These could seek private sector sponsors to help offset the losses.
City culture chief Coun Martin Mullaney insisted the plan was the ‘best deal possible to protect the arts in the city’.
“I am passionate about the arts and culture in Birmingham and take no joy in having to cut funding to these groups,” he said. “But I believe we have come up with the best deal possible to protect the arts in Birmingham.
“In somebody else’s hands this could have been a disaster and the arts community could have been wiped out.”
The total reduction of 17 per cent is not as extreme as the 30 per cent cuts, with no transitional relief for small groups, outlined in a document leaked on the Created In Birmingham website last week.
Coun Mullaney added that groups who had not previously received council money could also bid for project funding.
• The 2011/12 funding plan (2010/11 figures in brackets)
Birmingham Town and Symphony Halls £2.5m (£3.25m)
CBSO £1.45m (£1.595m)
Birmingham Royal Ballet £908,000 (£1.113m)
Birmingham Rep £908,000 (£1.103m)
Midlands Arts Centre (MAC) £650,000 (£756,000)
The Drum £435,000 (£480,000)
Birmingham Opera Company £175,000 (£204,000)
Ikon £105,000 (£123,808)
Dancexchange £100,000 (£117,000)
Ex Cathedra £62,000 (£72,000)
Sampad £41,000 (£45,000)
Special Commission to the Science Museum Thinktank £2.373m (£2.636m)
Smaller groups to receive 50 per cent cut in funding are Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, Craftspace, Birmingham Jazz, Big Brum, Women & Theatre, Sound It Out, ACE Dance, Tindal Street Press, Stan’s Cafe, Fierce and RBSA.