September 19, 2013 7:13 pm

Browne pushes for Tate funding changes

Make Your Mark Tate Modern

The 'Make Your Mark' event opens at Tate Modern on London's Bankside

Budding artists can see their work projected on to the walls of Tate Modern after the launch of an electronic “drawing bar” at the contemporary art gallery.

The initiative, Bloomberg Connects, also allows people to record their comments on the London gallery’s artworks on 75 screens throughout the building.

At an event to mark Tate’s annual report, Lord Browne, chairman of the trustees, called for its funding arrangements with the government to be redrawn to give it longer-term certainty over financing.

Tate, which received £31.5m grant-in-aid funding in 2012/13 while generating £56.4m of its income, has been hit by government cuts to the arts. The group’s grant as a proportion of its visitor numbers fell last year to its lowest level for five years and its grant-in-aid was cut this year by 3.5 per cent.

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Lord Browne said the gallery would be less able to rely on public funding in future, making it necessary to “redefine” the link between its grant and the public services it provides. He called for a guarantee of funding over “at least” five years.

“Everyone in Tate recognises that we have a significant public sector duty. We have to have that reflected in the way in which we’re financed,” he said.

Sir Nicholas Serota, Tate director, said the financing needs of arts bodies did not coincide with the political or economic cycle. “What we’re looking for is longer term planning for institutions that have to think in the long term.”

The Department of Culture, Media and Sport said the government had provided new financing tools for museums in the June spending round.

“These include greater freedom for museums to spend reserves as they see fit, the flexibility to opt out of government procurement controls, and the power to take loans from their sponsoring department. Together, this forms a fantastic new package for these institutions,” the department said.

Tate Modern received a record 5.5m visitors in 2012, making it the UK’s second most visited attraction, while the four Tate galleries together welcomed 7.74m.

The news came as it announced its 2014 programme, which includes exhibitions of Matisse’s so-called “cut-outs” and work by the British painter Richard Hamilton.

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