How Will Increased Arts Funding Benefit Sheffield?

It is no secret that the UK is facing lean economic times. When this happens, history has shown that cuts to the arts sector often follow. Yet in a society where jobs are becoming automated and harder to come by, the arts are the key to keeping the city alive. Below, we discuss how increased art funding benefits cities like Sheffield.

Main Benefits

There are two main ways arts funding benefits a city. One provides a short-term economic boost, while the second is more long-term. In the first instance, the arts and its events bring a healthy chunk of leisure and tourism revenue to the city. Gigs, art galleries, theatre productions, and festivals attract people to a city. In a climate where high street retail is dead, this can fill the gap left by the decline in shopping footfall. Shops will gradually become fewer, attracting fewer people to the city and only the arts will remain to pull people in.

This is known as the Bilbao effect. It takes its name from the Guggenheim building built in Spain’s post-industrial town of the same name. An architectural gem, plus a world-class gallery, transformed the city’s fortunes. While it may have had mixed results elsewhere, it shows the power of art to transform post-industrial towns.

The second is more long-term and brings people to the city due to the increase in the standard of living art can bring to a city. When events occur and public artworks are present, a town like Sheffield becomes a more pleasant place to live. This attracts people to the area, along with business and revenue.

Mapping Changes

As a creative individual or someone working within the sector, it can be easy to ignore the world of finances and government policies. Yet keeping a look out for major changes in the economy can be a vital sign of how much funding will be coming into the arts sector in the coming years. If times are lean, arts funding is inevitably one of the first budgets to be slashed. Economic calendar is one way to keep ahead of any changes. A schedule of events from each country, notes the dates of key events, announcements, and the release of fiscal policies. These can include everything from unemployment rates to retail sales in given sectors, all of which impact the arts significantly.

Another way is to stay up to date with the arts council in England. They are the ones who announce any big plans and funding, along with the department for media and culture. Funding itself comes in four distinct ways: national investment, local investment, earned income, and sponsorship. However, national and local investment is vital to unlocking the key to earned income and sponsorship. As a tool to get projects off the ground, when Sheffield arts stop being invested in, then the cycle can fall apart.

The city already has some spectacular arts venues. From legendary music venues like The Leadmill to well-known theatres like The Crucible, the scene is already alive. Yet with more investment, it could be a global center for the arts.

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