Gallery’s hours could be cut after grant axe

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BOSSES at an art gallery having its budget cut by more than 50 per cent say it might have to reduce its opening hours.

Aspex Gallery, in Gunwharf Quays – which brought the dinosaur sculpture to Southsea Common last year – faces a dramatic drop in its income.

As previously reported, it will see its Arts Council grant reduced by almost £17,000 to £225,770 this year as part of nationwide cuts. But next year its grant will plummet to £117,000.

Director Joanne Bushnell said: ‘We’re getting over what was initially a shock and trying to move forwards with a positive attitude.

‘I’ve been talking both to our board of trustees and our staff team to try and plan a way forward.

‘We have to look at every aspect of our business and see if there are costs we can save on without causing detriment to our services.

‘We’re open seven days a week from 11am to 5pm – we might have to review and see if that’s affordable in the current climate.’

Money provided by the Arts Council is used to fund overheads, the staff team and education programmes.

‘We’re disappointed by the Art Council’s decision, but we are confident we will find a way of both saving some money, and getting more income,’ added Joanne.

‘In particular we will look at developing the business we get here in renting space.

‘We rent out space near the cafe, gallery two and meeting rooms.’

The Arts Council announced a new funding scheme last week called the National Portfolio.

While Aspex sees a fall in income, the New Theatre Royal, in Guildhall Walk, 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.

Anyone interested in hiring the Aspex Gallery can find out more information by emailing hire@aspex.org.uk.

Or you can call (023) 9277 8080.