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Video: Big Dance and students from the University of East London performing outside Buckingham Palace.

We campaign for more public investment in the arts because we believe that the arts are for everyone and make everyone’s lives better.

Our campaigns

It seems obvious to us that a small percentage of our taxes should be invested in enriching our lives through art. So we make a noise and provoke discussions with people in power who make those decisions.

Who we are

The National Campaign for the Arts is a charity, run by a board of volunteer trustees. Around us we have gathered celebrity champions, like-minded individuals who give up their time and lend their high-profile presence so people sit up and listen. Find out more about our history and who pays for what

OUR CHAMPIONS

  • Eleanor Matsuura
    "Art is imagination. Art says anything is possible. That anyone can say, do and... " Read more
    Eleanor Matsuura
  • Lee Hall
    "Art is for everybody. Everybody is creative. Everybody is moved, astonished, consoled or galvanised... " Read more
    Lee Hall
  • Noma Dumezweni
    "I was very lucky that I found a place in my youth where I... " Read more
    Noma Dumezweni
  • Howard Goodall CBE
    "A love of, education in, life lived with the creative arts makes us brave... " Read more
    Howard Goodall CBE
  • Philip Pullman CBE FRSL
    "The arts are the only way of satisfying a very particular sort of hunger.... " Read more
    Philip Pullman CBE FRSL
  • Zawe Ashton
    "Art is escape. Everyone deserves escapism. Everyone deserves to get outside of themselves. Everyone... " Read more
    Zawe Ashton
  • Dame Hilary Mantel FRSL
    "The arts exist to connect, heal and delight us. Only an ignorant nation trains... " Read more
    Dame Hilary Mantel FRSL
  • David Morrissey
    "What I want is for the arts in general to be seen by people... " Read more
    David Morrissey
  • Philippe Sands QC
    "Art tells us where we have come from and to where we are heading.... " Read more
    Philippe Sands QC
  • Chi-Chi Nwanoku OBE
    "The arts are not an optional add-on to our society; they are central to... " Read more
    Chi-Chi Nwanoku OBE
  • Jackie Kay MBE FRSE
    "Art allows you to find rooms you never knew existed in houses you did... " Read more
    Jackie Kay MBE FRSE
  • Julia Donaldson MBE
    "The arts help us enter other minds and understand our own feelings. They stimulate... " Read more
    Julia Donaldson MBE

Publications

We publish reports that explain and argue for public investment in the arts.

WHAT IS ARTS FUNDING?

In the UK we have decided that we want to support the arts through public funding. Almost all artists, performers and audiences have benefitted from this system, directly or indirectly.

This is a better place to live and work than it would have been without public funding of the arts. Our lives are richer and more interesting, healthier and happier.

Photo: Mousetrap Theatre Projects © Alex Rumford

It’s likely that if you’ve been to a free festival or a big outdoor event, much of the cost will have been funded from your taxes. If it wasn’t funded, it probably wouldn’t happen.

It’s likely that when a performance company comes to do a workshop at your local school, their time and the resources they draw upon will have been made possible through a funding scheme.

Photo: English National Ballet presents students from the Elliot Foundation, made up of eight schools across London, performing Akram Khan’s Big Dance pledge © David Jensen

The next time you see a British film it's likely it will only have been possible to make it through some form of public subsidy or support.

When you buy a ticket for a local theatre it’s likely that it will cost a lot less than it might do because that venue, the company of performers, and the people responsible for putting on the show will all have been partly funded.

Photo: Travelling Light Youth Theatre © Paul Blakemore

Public investment has shown huge dividends in the UK. We are recognised as world leaders in the arts and creativity, and that is (at least in part) due to the way we have nurtured, invested and championed talent through public investment in these areas.

Photo: Dusk by Fevered Sleep © Matthew Andrews

But public funding is complex and subject to the vagaries of political influence. We need to keep reminding the decision makers how much we value their investment of our taxes in this vital area.

We’d love you to join us in our campaigning for the arts.

Join us
Photo: © Andy Paradise

How does arts funding work?

In some ways it’s very simple. We pay our taxes and buy Lottery tickets and we elect politicians to decide how to spend or invest that money. They currently invest a small percentage (roughly 0.02%) of that money in the arts: the artists, the performers, the venues and the infrastructure that make it all possible.

But the way that money is collected and distributed is hugely complex. We’ve published an overview that unpicks some of that complexity. Read more

Buy stuff for the arts

Support our work by buying unique products from our shop. As well as t-shirts, mugs, posters and more with our logo on them, each year one of the UK’s leading artists donates a piece of work and lets us shamelessly exploit it by printing it on things and selling them to raise funds.

Every penny of profit is spent on our charitable work for the arts. This year’s featured artist is our board member
Bob and Roberta Smith.

The more you buy, the more you help us campaign for the arts.