Manchester Art Gallery received the welcome news this week that it has been successful in its application to the Culture Recovery Fund – part of the Chancellor’s £1.57bn Covid response to the arts sector.
The gallery has been awarded £780,022 by Arts Council England – money which has been designated for specific actions to address the impact of Covid-19 and to help relieve the deficit in the gallery’s finances due to lack of commercial income during the lockdown and since it reopened in August.
Part of the award will be used to help ensure the Trading Company that runs the gallery café and venue hire offer remains solvent and well supported. The company is a significant contributor to the gallery’s income and helps drive its public programmes.
Another part of it will be used to fund broader audience development work across the city and joint working across the city’s cultural organisations – helping people through the pandemic, and working with schools and the Manchester Cultural Education Partnership.
The funding will also support the development of new Covid-safe learning programmes, and an update of the gallery’s website which will significantly enhance its digital offer and online programme, as well as helping to offset the additional costs related to the unavoidable delay in opening the Derek Jarman and Constellations exhibitions.
Alistair Hudson, Director of Manchester Art Gallery, said: “This is a huge boost in difficult times, and is a much-valued lifeline for the gallery and for culture in Manchester.
“Whilst there are still challenges ahead – with reduced footfall, no café offer for our visitors as yet, limitations on our retail offer and no possibility of events for the foreseeable future – this is nevertheless great news.
“We’re very grateful to Arts Council England, DCMS and HM Treasury for this support and also to our audiences, supporters, communities, volunteers and staff who continue to keep Manchester Art Gallery free and open to all people as a place of civic thinking and public imagination, promoting art as a means to achieve social change.”
Councillor Luthfur Rahman OBE, Executive Member for Culture, Leisure and Skills, Manchester City Council, said: “The funding for Manchester Art Gallery and other cultural organisations announced this week is great news. Culture has always contributed massively to city life in Manchester for residents and visitors alike, and we’re determined to do everything we can to ensure that it survives these troubled times, so that it can play its vital part in our recovery as we move out of the pandemic.”