Councils have been the unsung heroes of arts funding for decades. Town Halls across the nation are under unprecedented pressure to reduce budgets and deal with increased demands in areas such as social care, but even so our analysis shows the arts have been cut disproportionately in the last five years compared to council services overall (despite the fact that investment in the arts accounts on average for less than ½p in every £1 spent by local authorities in England).
But this is not true everywhere. Some Local Authorities really understand the importance of the arts to the wellbeing of local communities and the value that this small but crucial investment brings. Our Hearts for the Arts Awards shine a spotlight on councils and individual officers and Councillors who are overcoming financial challenges to ensure the arts are at the centre of community life.