The National Campaign for the Arts and the Public Campaign for the Arts have merged to create one organisation, Campaign for the Arts.
Campaign for the Arts hopes to champion, defend and expand access to the arts and culture for and with the public in the UK.
The organisation will use digital tools and its UK-wide network to inform, express support and engage with more people. Its supporter base already incorporates all of the UK’s 650 Parliamentary constituencies and includes British presenters, artists, writers and authors such as Stephen Fry, Meera Syal, Gary Lineker, Grayson Perry, Lauren Laverne and Phillip Pullman.
The newly-joined Campaign for the Arts will continue to run the Hearts for the Arts awards, which have recognised exceptional arts initiatives in local government since 2017. It will also continue the Arts Index, which has analysed the health of the nation’s arts and culture since 2011, and develop the Arts Map, which was conceived during the pandemic for people to check the reopening status of cultural organisations.
The organisation will also look to introduce and develop new initiatives at both national and local level.
Samuel West, who was formerly chair of the NCA, has become a trustee of Campaign for the Arts and Jack Gamble, formerly director of the PCA, has become chief executive.
West said: “The impact of the pandemic, the cost-of-living crisis and the prospect of further austerity are just some of the pressing challenges facing the arts. But this merger puts us in the strongest possible place. Together, we will campaign to ensure that the arts are available from childhood, accessible to all and thriving everywhere.”
Gamble added: “This merger gives me hope at an extremely difficult time. Creative subjects are being stripped from our state schools, inequality of opportunity is rife and the arts sector is having to contend with unprecedented challenges. No one person can turn the tide – we need to do it together. That’s why we’re joining up to form the Campaign for the Arts, and why every supporter of our campaign really matters.”