The Curve in Leicester was the stage for Arts Council England (ACE) to make its National Portfolio Announcement of £409 million for 2018-22. This was an appropriate setting as according to Apollo Magazine, it was the regions that were very well represented this time, with the strategic decision to radically increase the number of small and medium-sized organisations receiving funding. This means places like Preston, Poole and 40 other locations will receive NPO support for the first time. It is expected that this funding will make a significant difference in these regional institutions. ACE has said that this ‘rebalancing’ will deliver an additional £170m for the arts outside London between 2018 and 2022. With regards to the funding, ACE Chair Sir Nicholas Serota, has said that one of the key hopes is that this funding “will inspire a broader range of young people and audiences across England than ever before.” Talking to The Telegraph, ACE Chief Executive Darren Henley reinforces that saying that its ‘plans through to 2022 show we mean it when we talk about great art and culture for everyone.” This was welcomed by Government and more broadly across the sector.
In addition to this support of the regions, Nick Serota also emphasised the need to encourage greater international work from national and regional organisations. He said that it was important to develop new partnerships, generate income streams, and also offer more to its local audiences, highlighting the Curve in Leicester as a particular example. The overall positive feeling was welcomed by James Doeser, arts consultant, writing in The Stage as he surmises that it ‘feels like a portfolio in transition’ and predicts that there should be a lot more to talk about next time.