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Who we are

The Save the Arts campaign is organised by the London branch of the Turning Point Network, a national consortium of over 2,000 arts organisations and artists dedicated to working together and finding new ways to support the arts in the UK.

The aim of the Save the Arts campaign is to encourage people to sign a petition which will be sent to the Culture Secretary, Jeremy Hunt. It points out that it has taken 50 years to create a vibrant arts culture in Britain that is the envy of the world and appeals to the government not to slash arts funding and risk destroying this long-term achievement and the social and economic benefits it brings to all.

Over a hundred leading artists including David Hockney, Damien Hirst, Anthony Caro, Howard Hodgkin, Anish Kapoor, Richard Hamilton, Bridget Riley, Antony Gormley and Tracey Emin have joined the campaign to make the case against the proposed 25% cuts in government funding of the arts. The campaign acknowledges that reasonable cuts and efficiencies are necessary but that the 25% cuts being proposed will destroy much of what has been achieved and will have a particularly damaging impact on smaller scale arts organisations, as well as on national and regional museums and their collections.

The first stage of the campaign presents a new video animation by artist David Shrigley highlighting the effect of the funding cuts and a new work by Jeremy Deller with Scott King and William Morris. Each week, the work of a different artist will be released. Mark Wallinger will present the next project.
The costs of David Shrigley’s animation have been covered with a grant from the Paul Hamlyn Foundation. All artists engaged in this project have generously donated their time, talent and art.

The London branch of the Turning Point Network includes representatives from:
Acme Studios
British Film Institute
Camden Arts Centre
Cape Farewell
Central Saint Martin’s College
Greater London Authority
Hayward Gallery/ Southbank Centre
National Portrait Gallery
Photographers Gallery
Royal Academy
Serpentine Gallery
South London Gallery
The Whitechapel Gallery

Artists Supporting the Save the Arts campaign
Faisal Abduallah
David Austen
Charles Avery
Fiona Banner
Jordan Baseman
Becky Beasley
Zarina Bhimji
Karla Black
Martin Boyce
Anthony Caro
Jake & Dinos Chapman
Adam Chodzko
Steve Claydon
Nathan Coley
Matt Collishaw
Nigel Cooke
Tony Cragg
Michael Craig-Martin
Juan Cruz
Ian Davenport
Richard Deacon
Tacita Dean
Richard Deacon
Jeremy Deller
Willie Doherty
Peter Doig
Tracey Emin
Nogah Engler
Luke Fowler
Anya Gallaccio
Ryan Gander
Ori Gerscht
Liam Gillick
Andy Goldsworthy
Douglas Gordon
Antony Gormley
Brian Griffiths
Sunil Gupta
Maggi Hambling
Richard Hamilton
Mona Hatoum
Susan Hiller
Damien Hirst
David Hockney
Howard Hodgkin
Runa Islam
Alison Jackson
Chantal Joffe
Isaac Julien
Alan Kane
Anish Kapoor
Michael Landy
Mark Leckey
Hew Locke
Sarah Lucas
Steve McQueen
Malcolm Morley
Ron Mueck
David Nash
Rosalind Nashashibi
Mike Nelson
Tim Noble
Humphrey Ocean
Harold Offeh
Julian Opie
Cornelia Parker
Peter Peri
Grayson Perry
Susan Philipsz
Tom Phillips
Marc Quinn
Fiona Rae
Peter Randall-Page
Bridget Riley
Conrad Shawcross
Yinka Shonibare
David Shrigley
Bob and Roberta Smith
Terry Smith
Simon Starling
Sam Taylor-Wood
Jurgen Teller
Wolfgang Tillmans
Mark Titchner
Keith Tyson
Francis Upritchard
Jessica Voorsanger
Mark Wallinger
Rebecca Warren
Gillian Wearing
Sue Webster
Richard Wentworth
Rachel Whiteread
Cathy Wilkes
Jane and Louise Wilson
Bill Woodrow
Richard Wright
Carey Young
Toby Ziegler


  1. Excellent and witty message, shall tweet to our followers!

  2. 1) Why does the video insist that cuts (in one area or another) are necessary? There's no sense in which they are necessary, and adding "our" voice to the "cuts consensus" is hardly a positive move.

    2) The argument that art allows us to "see ourselves differently" and offers an alternative to "reality-TV culture" is both implicitly elitist and completely out of touch with modern art.

    3) The arts are defended in terms of their economic value; they are also touted as one of the "greatest success stories". The fact that economic value is today the only criteria for a defence of the arts demonstrates the plain fact that the recent history of the arts in Britain is a story of failure, and the general trajectory of the arts in Britain is toward commercialisation and away from any relevance to the everyday lives of people (excepting a tiny, minority cultural elite).

    4) A "rally around the flag" united front is not the answer, nor could it be, whilst these genuine difficulties (namely, the total exclusion of "the public" from art, and of art from everyday life) continue to exist. (Moreover, the “tactical” methods of “playing off the prejudices of the public” which this video demonstrates are transparently condescending and, in fact, insulting.)

    5) Nor will continued collusion with the State and with State institutions provide a solution to these problems. Nor will continued collusion with the cultural establishment: magazines, journals, newspapers, galleries, universities. If these are the only places for “art”, and where “art” matters (which they currently are) then art cannot be expect to engage anyone. The institutionalisation, bureaucratisation and commercialisation of art has alienated everyone from art; “art” has become alienating. (To be clear, I am not referring in some trite way to certain forms, or styles, or to a need for a return to the “moral” or to “commitment”. I am referring to the effective processes of its production, distribution and reception.)

    6) A campaign that seeks to treat art as a separate realm, and which fails to address the link between ConDem funding threats to the Arts and ConDem (and broader neo-liberal) threats to other sectors, will fail. And so it should: if those involved in the arts cannot bring themselves to make this crucial linkage, they deserve the "philistine" observation of their complete irrelevance.

    7) A genuine wish to "save" the arts necessitates a far broader critique of society and of capitalism, as well as a critique of the arts themselves.

    8) Art is in crisis.


  3. Perhaps a arts supertax on all artists earning over £150,000 a year could fund the shortfall? This Fund Art Tax would ensure that art funding was spread more evenly rather than having an artistic divide.

    Could also tax the auction of arts over £1M, say 0.5% per transaction?

    Perhaps all art sold costing more than £1K should have a mandatory "Art Research Study Education Document" which describes how the art was created so others could reproduce the work. Works under this value would be classified as Not A.R.S.E.D.

    How about all artists earning over say £30K a year have to volunteer a day of their time into training new artists? Saachi is doing this, how many other big galleries and instutions do?

  4. @FleaCircusDirector I'm not sure whether you are being facetious, or don't fully understand the arts landscape.

    For example, the estimated 64,000 people working as visual artists in the UK are twice as likely as the rest of the workforce to earn less than £10,000 per year. Indeed, 69% of them earn less than £15,000. So, whilst it is important to give back (with reference to your final point), those who can are a small minority. (Research taken from the 2007, Pension for Artists report.)

    And it's not just about the visual arts: theatre, dance, music, literature, digital art etc. would all be affected by cuts, and all make their own contribution to the economy. Take this April 2010 post by theatre director Alexander Kelly, which demonstrates that VAT of theatre tickets recovers 75% of the Arts Councils total spending on theatre:

    Liverpool Biennial recently published research demonstrating that, for every £1 of local government spending on the Biennial, they return £14 to the local tourism economy.

    6.2% of GVA, 2 million jobs, £16 billion in exports - the picture is far more complex than some would like to think.

  5. When, during WWII, Winston Churchill was advised to cut arts funding, he answered, "Good God no! What do you think we're fighting for?"

  6. Hello London

    Don't you know that there's a large part of land all around you that also appreciates the arts and is also under threat of cuts?

    Where's the attempt to engage the rest of the country in this campaign?

    When many people are arguing that arts funding is purely about feathering (unmade) beds for a London cultural elite, how do you suppose your campaign is not helping to reinforce that image?

    This fight as about average joes up and down the country who benefit from the arts but you make no attempt to address this argument and as a result you will be attacked as 'the (self serving) arts'.

  7. Hi Save the Arts;

    Can you tell me what the proposed 25% cuts mean in absolute terms? An "x-million GBP" figure is what I'm after. Of course not all cuts are the same and I believe you could use absolute amounts to help your argument. For example, what % of current defense spending is equivalent to the absolute amount which the 25% cuts to the Arts represents?


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