Funding cuts bite as gallery feels the pain

BIG ART The dinosaur on Southsea Common, which later accidentally burnt down, was organised by Aspex
BIG ART The dinosaur on Southsea Common, which later accidentally burnt down, was organised by Aspex
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THE art gallery which brought the huge dinosaur to Southsea Common last year is to have its funding slashed.

From April the Aspex Gallery, in Gunwharf Quays, will see its Arts Council funding reduced by almost £17,000 to £225,770 as part of nationwide cuts.

But next year it will be even worse as the venue will see its grant cut almost in half to £117,000.

It has left the gallery looking for alternative funding sources – or face major cuts to its programmes.

Director Joanne Bushnell said: ‘We have been left with fighting a 50 per cent funding cut, which is a very big gap.

‘This means we’ll have to look at making some cuts to our programme and find new ways on getting money in.

‘We do feel fortunate to be offered some funding from them.’

While some are facing cuts, there are others set to benefit from a new funding programme being brought in by the Arts Council next year.

New Theatre Royal, in Guildhall Walk, Portsmouth, will see its grant increase from £54,838 to £97,000.

The Chichester Festival Theatre grant will go up almost £68,000 to £1.6m and the Pallant House Gallery, in Chichester, will see its funds rise from £92,819 to £93,000.

Caroline Sharman, director of New Theatre Royal, said: ‘We are relieved and grateful that the Arts Council is backing us during our exciting development.

‘The money will be used to go on help emerging talent and have creative learning spaces in the rebuild.’

The list of grants was announced after organisations were given the chance to make applications by January.

Sally Abbott, regional director of the Arts Council, said: ‘This is a landmark move for us because we had a completely open application scheme.

‘The decision was based on the application and how it will match what we’re trying to do across the region and country.’