Wales Green Party are submitting this response to the questions raised by the inquiry into non-public funding of the arts in Wales.

        The effectiveness of efforts to increase non-public funding of the arts in Wales by bodies including the Arts Council, local authorities and artists and arts organisations themselves. This funding would include: earned income; philanthropy; investment.


BP have recently committed to a five-year investment programme of £17.5 million in for a range of projects at the British Museum, the National Portrait Gallery, the Royal Opera House and the Royal Shakespeare Company. However, after the successful ‘Liberate the Tate’ campaign last year, BP announced the company will end its Tate sponsorship after 26 years.

Since the sponsorship schemes curated by big oil companies have been made public, the backlashes against Tate and the British Museum have made it apparent the public opinion is not in favour of the British arts being sponsored by companies such as BP.

Should the public funding of the arts in Wales be reduced from the currently budgeted £31.7 million, sponsorship from companies that do not support Wales’ economic aspirations to invest in renewable energy, and the goals for the environment set in the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act, should not be accepted. It is equally important that, money should not be accepted from sources that conflict with our democracy.

At a time when Wales is looking to make investments in renewable energy, such as Swansea Tidal Lagoon, it would be detrimental to our democracy to accept sponsorship from companies that conflict this aim as sponsorship schemes are used by companies as PR stunts and can also open doors to lobbying behind closed doors. It is important that both public and non-public sources of funding are treated in a transparent manner, and should the level of non-public funding of the arts be increased, measures need to be taken to keep the public informed of the funding sources.  

Sponsoring organisations to employ full-time fundraisers:

Establishing alternative funding streams to public funding is a challenge that arts organisations across the field of arts, from theatre to visual art are increasingly facing. Many organisations employ full-time staff in charge of filling funding applications. In order for an organisation to be seeking their own funding it is necessary for them to have at least one full-time staff member dedicated to seeking further funding. For organisations that do not currently employ this type of staff, public funding could be used to sponsor organisations to employ staff to ensure that going forward, they are fully equipped to seek for extra funding themselves. This kind of sponsorship would long term ensure the development of more autonomous and less dependent forms of financial support for the arts.

        International examples of innovative approaches to raising non-public funding of the arts.

Professional marketing and exporting of Welsh arts:

In April, Scotland launched a high-profile initiative to promote business and arts collaboration. The programme was launched by Fiona Hyslop, the Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs, and offers grant funding of between £1,000 and £40,000, matched by business sponsorship to the same value.

There is scope that Wales’ many SME businesses would be interested in affordable sponsorships if the scheme was promoted to mutual benefit across and outside Wales. Combining the promotion of Welsh business with the promotion of Welsh art would be an immeasurably better idea that accepting sponsorship from multinational companies that are not rooted in Wales.

In order to gain interest and funds both within Wales and outside Wales, it is important that funds are allocated long-term to promote Welsh arts both internationally and within the UK. Scotland has a high profile with an internationally acclaimed and well-known art school, Glasgow School of Art, and has programmes that enable the promotion of the arts produced in Scotland both within Scotland and outside, such as Made in Scotland.

Wales could benefit from further research into the ways in which Scotland has raised and continues to raise the profile of Scottish arts.

Whilst there may be a role for commercial sponsorship of any cultural activity, this should not be used to reduce the total state support for the Arts, but rather to allow state funding to be redeployed elsewhere.

International Examples: Creating a national brand

Wales must make use of its existing level of talent to promote and market its arts better as well as further afield. It is also paramount that Wales finds its feet in terms of branding and marketing its cultural strengths in the field of arts. Finland’s efforts to brand its design talent for exporting in recent years have proven extremely fruitful in terms of both importing an interested audience (“design tourism’) as well as exporting the products designed in Finland to other countries for sales. In 2012 Helsinki was appointed the World Design Capital, which increased the awareness and interest towards Helsinki as the centre for Nordic design, particularly in Asian markets such as Japan, South Korea and China. For Cardiff, bidding to be Europe’s Capital of Culture in 2023, for example, should form a part of a strategic plan to increase the awareness of and revenue from the Welsh arts, rather than come as an after-thought following calls from artists and others working in the field.

For a small country like Wales, creating and maintaining an international network would aid in creating a long-term marketing strategy that capitalises on Wales’ cultural and artistic heritage. This would also mean thinking of arts in line with tourism development: inviting and increasing tourist flow, promoting art that focuses on Wales’ cultural history and present would also enable creating products that people can purchase to take home as memories of the performances they have seen and experiences they had whilst visiting Wales. As Finland has found, cultural history can and needs to be packaged in a way that appeals to current tastes and design standards. It is equally important that marketing strategy is created in advance of any events and product development taking place. The comprehensive report that followed Helsinki’s year as the World Design Capital, notes that the international media strategy focussed on creating a communications network in the target cities of London, New York, Stockholm and Berlin ( This was then successfully exploited to promote long-term development projects for which the year as a World Design Capital provided a platform for. The report emphasises the importance of approaching the different international medias early and maintaining the connection throughout the year.

Cultural diversity needs to be protected and promoted in the face of a dominating global artistic culture. This is especially important when looking to sell and package culture in such a way that will create more revenue to fund arts in Wales. Ensuring that arts organisations follow on a path paved by National Theatre Wales creating productions that Welsh people care about or that are topical in our own society, such as We are still here, about Port Talbot’s steal works, is paramount to ensuring that the public continues to enjoy and benefit from the arts in Wales if non-public funding is increased.

Building a national instrument bank:

In Finland, local libraries have since 2012 expanded from lending just books. For example, various libraries across the country now lend out winter and summer sports equipment. The service is free to the user and funded through the public grants libraries get from the state. Funds are allocated locally to ensure local demand is met but not exceeded. It is possible to use this type of extended library model to create a national but localised instrument bank in Wales.

The Welsh Government needs to encourage the growth of local arts associations made up of practicing artists across Wales. We also ask The Culture, Welsh Language and Communications committee to ensure that local arts associations, where they exist, are given opportunities to represent on regional arts boards instead of local government officials. Only by enabling the arts community to take charge of their own financial positions, will the arts in Wales become truly sustainable, both economically and culturally.