arts in the east
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It cannot fail to strike anyone reading our reports that each creative enterprise and initiative is invariably the result of innovative thinking, collaborative working, and much hard graft! Take the Fry Art Gallery (p18–19) for instance. They taken funding into their own hands and raised thousands of pounds in just four months to ensure the independence and future prosperity of the gallery for the community and for the artists it supports. The art trails and open studios we feature are all stories of initiatives and collaboration of artists for and with their communities. The quality of events such as the Cambridge Concert Series (p17), Art in Clay (p 20–21), and the Sainsbury Centre Giacometti exhibition (p22–23) attracts sponsors for funding.
     When reading about these efforts, it should not surprise us that the creative industries make a huge contribution to the UK economy and create upwards of 1.5 million jobs. Given those hard facts, you would think that these industries would receive plenty of support – well, they do, as we see, from every one of us that appreciates their skills and buys their work whether it is a picture, a pot or a performance. And then there are individuals and businesses who generously sponsor artists and events. But if our creative industries (and along with them our community) are to continue to thrive, they also need adequate funding and support from central and local government, and that is not always forthcoming in a climate of a downward economic trend in what has been called this ‘time of austerity’.
     Recent Arts Council (the major funding body) figures show that local authority investment in
arts/culture has declined by £236 million, a huge decrease of 17% since 2010. While English local government still spent £1.2 billion on arts and culture in 2014/15, the cuts remain significant and are likely to continue.    The Arts Council addressed the subject in a speech by their Chair, Sir Peter Bazalgette, made to local authorities in the Spring. He suggested collaborative working to develop new, creative and innovative solutions ‘to sustain the vital cultural life of our communities’ (well yes, our arts community have been walking that road, with considerable success, for quite some time). He went on to talk about the many local authorities already finding new ways to support arts and culture in their areas, and how the Arts Council will continue to ‘deploy funds in dynamic and imaginative ways’. Good to hear. This AC support appears initially to comprise two new funds which focus on diversity in art and culture, addressing what they see as a lack of diversity in arts leadership, and the need to support Black and minority ethnic ‘theatre makers’.  These are admirable initiatives which are to be applauded.
     And it is to be hoped that further support will be forthcoming for the artists, creators and performers, like those featured in this issue, who are already making a big cultural difference in our communities, and have been doing
so, in many cases, for years.
Fran Goss Editor
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From the news and feature items in this issue of Venue, it is clear that our highly skilled arts community continues to make an invaluable contribution to the cultural life of our region. We appreciate this particularly in the Summer season, when we can often get close to artists, makers and performers and their work through exhibitions, open studios and art trails; and through the special festivals, concert series and performances which are so much part of Summer.  We are bringing you news of many of these in this issue, as well as the first-class venues which make it all possible.
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Venue Cover: Figure with Cockerel (detail)
Michael Rothenstein, mixed media c1948,
Fry Art Gallery
I must say that
to find and read your magazine, you are a wonderfully strong voice for the arts in East Anglia, it's a classy read, I am definitely going to subscribe!
Kate GreenArtist
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Venue directory 2016
Now online and  distrubuted throughout our region from January 2016
Art in Clay
22nd Annual Ceramics Festival at Hatfield House

to Venue readers.
Entry to the Festival
2 for the price of 1 with the Summer issue of Venue magazine.
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