A new strategy for the Arts Council should include diversity, communication, localism and digital technology among its key themes, the funder has been told.
The Arts Council, which published its annual accounts last week, has also recently revealed the results of its consultation on a new strategy, which invited individuals and organisations, including many arts charities, to set their priorities for the sector.
Respondents said that at present, the role of museums, libraries and arts bodies was underplayed, and more needed to be done to communicate their relevance.
The consultation also heard that arts charities and other bodies do not have a good enough record on diversity, particularly with regard to social background, but also with regard to ethnicity, gender and location.
Respondents wanted to see arts and culture which is tailored to local areas, and felt there was a difficult tension between the need to make arts available digitally but not lose the importance of physical spaces.
Many felt it was important to have “art for art’s sake” which did nothing but make people happy, as well as art which delivered public benefit by ameliorating disadvantage.
The Arts Council was also told it needed to be not just a funder, but also an advocate for the arts sector.
The Arts Council’s accounts show relatively little change in its funding mix, with a total income of £727m, as opposed to £724m the previous year. Grant-in-aid income was £497m, and National Lottery Distribution Fund income was £228m, with just over £2m of other income.