Untitled 2004 (aluminium foil guitarist)
Tom Friedman

South London Gallery
Until 1st August 2004

Government Invests Directly in Regional Museums [added10/02]

Text here will be displayed in summary listingsThe Government, for the first time, has made a commitment to regional museums to take forward the programme of reform and investment proposed in the Renaissance in the Regions. However the 70 million promised over four years, including this one, is only a small proportion of the 250 plus million outlined as necessary to solve the plight and severe underfunding of local authority run museums and galleries.

Nick Dodd, Director of Sheffield Museums and Galleries Trust and VAGA Executive member commented, "The Government's announcement represents the first glimmer of hope for the museums in the regions, giving some recognition at last to the dispersed national collection and the social and economic as well as cultural value of the nation's regional museums However the specific reference to regional museums made by the Chancellor back in July gave us hope that that recognition might be more generous than it has turned out to be."

In May , a group of the countries leading artists, including David Hockney, Peter Blake, Anthony Caro, Tony Cragg, Antony Gormley, Ian Hamilton Finlay, Howard Hodgkin, David Hockney, Damien Hirst, Anish Kapoor, Bridget Riley and Rachel Whiteread made a special plea to the Chancellor. " We are all working artists, who currently enjoy an international reputation, yet we are deeply conscious of the local roots of our inspiration. We first encountered some of the great works of art that have shaped our lives, not in leading London galleries, but in our local museums and art galleries.These great cultural assets are vital to the lives of millions of people, many of whom may never come to London. They have been grossly neglected for more than two decades. Now, without investment and the opportunity to change, they are in danger of being allowed to wither and die."

Such support, plus the weight of National Museum Directors, Sir Nicholas Serota and Neil Mcgregor has not generated the level of funding needed to the tackle the problem, nationally and comprehensively, but it is a welcome beginning - to be followed, we hope, by a true Renaissance .?