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Castlefield Gallery loses ACE funding

Art space fights to plug £91k gap

Published on March 31st 2011.

Castlefield Gallery loses ACE funding

THE Castlefield Gallery in Manchester has lost all of its funding following government cuts to the arts sector.

‘We were feeling confident we’d get funding, even if it meant a reduction, but we were really shocked to have lost it all.’

The gallery, which has been open since 1984 and employs four part-time staff, now faces a fight for survival as it tried to replace the £91,000 grant it was previously given by Arts Council England (ACE).

Jennifer Dean, spokesperson for the gallery, told Confidential: “We’ve lost all of our funding and as it stands, we don’t know what that will mean.

“We know what we’re doing is a valuable service to up and coming artists. We’re determined to continue – but at the moment, we don’t know how.

“We need to look at alternative ways to raise the funds, whether that be through sponsorship or other commercial channels. That’s the next challenge.

“We were feeling confident we’d get funding, even if it meant a reduction, but we were really shocked to have lost it all.

“We were told we were too reliant on ACE funding, but that wasn’t an issue when we recently applied for and were given a £49,000 grant for organisational development. The idea of that grant was to try and futureproof the gallery.”

The gallery holds exhibitions and events and also runs a professional development scheme, and has teamed up with regional, national and international partners to develop its own work as well as the artists it supports.

The funding cuts kick in next April and Dean said the gallery, which has been based in Knott Mill since 2002, was open to offers of collaboration from any other arts organisations in the region that had also suffered finding cuts.

“Collaboration is certainly something we’ll look into,” she said. “We’ve already had messages of support and I know other galleries have been talking to each other to look at ways of working with each other.

“The gallery works with artists early in their career and we don’t want to charge them or increase the commission we take on work they sell. We want them to sell their art to help put them on a firm footing.

“I think the arts scene in Manchester is generally quite close and supportive, and we hope that will continue.

“We haven’t discussed closure. We don’t want to think about it. We’ve survived on small amounts before and we can do it again. We were just shocked and disappointed by the announcement.

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6 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

NeilMarch 31st 2011.

Maybe I'm being a phillistine but I'd never heard of this place. Can't even picture where it was/is. Perhaps it needs to get a bit more 'commercial' rather than relying on grants.

AnonymousMarch 31st 2011.

£91,000 is about 60% of the amount of money the government gives to the state funded broadcaster for a single episode of Eastenders.

There's no shortage of tax cash around, it's just that some of it wasted on complete trash while the arts go short.

Christopher BryanMarch 31st 2011.

Yes Neil you are being a phillistine

Sally1010April 2nd 2011.

I live close to this place so walk past all the time, its almost always empty. I'm pleased we're not going to waste any more money on it, I wouldn't mind if they made the effort to encourage the public in but they don't. I don't like to bash my city's arts and culture but cutbacks elsewhere have wiped out much more accessible arts - I can honestly say this is one I'll be glad to see this go.

Larry LambApril 2nd 2011.

Lived in the city for eleven years, not a philistine but have never heard or seen this gallery, why haven't they asked me in, if you know what I mean?

JudeApril 2nd 2011.

Castlefield Gallery may be slightly off the radar for some but its work extends far beyond the walls of the gallery. Anyone who has worked in the arts in M'cr in any capacity will be aware of its importance to artists - particularly those at the early stages of their careers. Castlefield Gallery offers an alternative to commercial galleries and the large instituitions and acts as a bridge for many into 'the art world'. This role cannot be measured in visitor numbers but it is no less valuable for this.

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