Lloyd Webber charity gives arts £32m

The Andrew Lloyd Webber foundation is to inject £32m into arts projects across the country, it announced on Thursday.

The initiative will be funded by using the money the charity received from its sale of the Picasso painting “Portrait of Angel Fernández de Soto” – a Blue Period masterpiece that sold to an undisclosed buyer for £34.8m at Christie’s London last May.

Grants will be given to culture, heritage and arts projects “that provide a real and ongoing difference to people’s lives”, the foundation, which seeks to support the arts, culture and heritage for public benefit, said.

Nordoff Robbins, the UK charity that provides music therapy sessions in hospitals, schools and its own centres, will be one of the first organisations to benefit, receiving £250,000.

Others include the youth theatre company Chickenshed; Time Spanners, a 21-piece community music group for people with physical or learning disabilities; and the Orpheus Centre, a performing arts college for disabled young adults.

Mark Wordsworth, chairman of the foundation’s trustees, said the money was being donated to a wider pool of bodies than in the past. “Previously we have concentrated on fine art and arts education, but we have decided to help a broader scope of people and projects directly with the funds invested from the Picasso sale,” he said.

The foundation was formed by Lord Lloyd-Webber in 1992 to buy works of art, especially those in danger of leaving the UK.

The sale of the Picasso painting last year was the first such sale by the charity to allow it to finance other projects.

“Although holding a small number of extremely valuable pieces of art and displaying them is a public benefit, we felt a lot more could be achieved if the money [from their sale] was pump-primed in the right way,” Mr Wordsworth said.

The foundation was looking for projects to help as arts and heritage bodies struggled to cope with government cuts, he said: “Most people don’t know we exist – but we are fully expecting a lot of applications to start coming in.”

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