7 July 2020
DACS represents the intellectual property rights of over 100,000 artists and has called repeatedly for dedicated financial support for artists since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. The £1.57bn bailout for the culture sector is welcome. But we are seriously concerned that the urgent needs of individual artists have been disregarded, despite their work underpinning the UK’s cultural success. As it stands, it’s not clear they benefit at all.
Visual artists’ livelihoods were destroyed the moment we went into lockdown, and there is no sign of improvement. Most artists do not qualify for government support, and we fear that this announcement will mean nothing to the thousands of artists who cannot pay for materials, face eviction from studios, who have seen work cancelled, opportunities dry up, and sales plummet.
The figure was announced with little supporting detail. DACS asks Rishi Sunak and Oliver Dowden to clarify if the relief package includes artists, or if the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme will be extended and adapted to take into account the specific needs of artists.
Before the pandemic the UK art market was worth £10bn a year. Britain has been leading the world in the visual arts for the past 30 years. We mustn’t let COVID-19 wipe out a generation of artists.
See April 21 letter to the Chancellor from arts organisations here.