Ed Vaizey's championing of new art isn't matched by funding

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The Independent Culture

Ed Vaizey, the Minister for Culture, Communi-cations and Creative Industries, has a conscience. He apologised at the private view of hundreds of artworks generated by youngsters involved in the National Art and Design Saturday Clubs for the lack of government cash for artists manque. The show at London's Somerset House eventually attracted 3,300 visitors – he even arranged an intern stint at the DCMS for one of the young artists.

The Saturday Clubs, funded by the Sorrell Foundation, allowed teenagers from 100 schools across the country to attend classes in the art or design departments of colleges and universities. The purpose: to find a new generation of creatives who, like Sir John Sorrell, discovered their talents at the original state-funded Saturday Clubs in the 1950s and 1960s.

Many of the new generation of Saturday clubbers attended masterclasses given by famous designers and artists including Antony Gormley.

But despite support from the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, the Sorrells struggle to fund the Saturday Clubs. Sir John says the government's championing of creative industries as a key economic force is not matched by funding to unearth talented artists and designers currently unaware of potential arts-based careers.