The Arts Council consists of 16 people, appointed by the Secretary of State for National Heritage, to decide how to distribute the annual grant given by his department and to monitor funded institutions. Appointees are unpaid
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Lord Gowrie, chairman. Not to be confused with Lord Gowrie, the Arts minister of 10 years ago who froze museum purchase grants, worshipped Mrs Thatcher and caused Sir Peter Hall to threaten to close part of the National Theatre. This new incarnation retains the bow tie but has undergone a philosophical change with his appointment. He now wants arts spending increased from less than a 10th of one per cent of national spending to one per cent, and thinks we should all wear lapel badges to say so.

Sir Richard Rogers, vice-chairman. One of Gowrie's own high-profile appointments. Labour-supporting Sir Richard's achievements include designing the Pompidou Centre in Paris and the Lloyd's building in London. The well-respected post-modernist enfant terrible, now an establishment icon, is said to lend artistic credibility to the Arts Council. In spite of this, he chairs the visual arts panel.

Christopher Frayling

Pro rector and professor of cultural history at the Royal College of Art. Witty and energetic, he is a regular TV and radio presenter, inventor of the phrase "spaghetti western". Dubbed by oneCouncil member "a teddy bear on speed".

Maggie Guillibaud

Chairs the South-West Arts Board and is on the board of the Cheltenham Literature Festival and the Cheltenham International Music Festival. Despite such a genteel CV she is said to be a very tough cookie in Council.

Peter Gummer

Also chairman of the lottery advisory board - and so in charge of considerable sums of arts money. He is the brother of Cabinet minister John Selwyn, but according to colleagues he thinks before he speaks rather more than his sibling.

Sir Ernest Hall

Uniquely on the Council, this man is a performer - a concert pianist. He runs the Dean Clough centre in Halifax, an award-winning mix of arts, business and education. He also chairs the Yorkshire and Humberside arts board.

Gavin Henderson

Chairman of the music panel, he is a flamboyant, bow-tied maverick. The principal of Trinity College of Music, he gave up training to be a sculptor at the Slade to play the trumpet, and has since run the Brighton Festival.

Thelma Holt

The only Council member to have played Lady Macbeth naked on the London stage. Her theatrical, nay camp, manner enlivens meetings, while her cool command of production budgets informs them. Chair of the drama panel.

Michael Holroyd

The distinguished biographer of Dickens and Shaw is chairman of the literature panel. Colleagues look to the old Etonian to bat for literature, often the poor relation in Arts Council funding and priorities.

Stella Robinson

A registered disabled person with partial sight, Robinson chairs the Northern Arts regional arts board. The voice of the local authorities on the Council, she has been a Labour councillor in Durham since 1972.

Trevor Nunn

Former head of the RSC, he is one of Lord Gowrie's high-profile appointments. The RSC made him famous; directing Cats, Les Mis and Sunset Boulevard made him rich. He can give insights into both subsidised and commercial sectors.

Robert Southgate

The former managing director of Central Broadcasting left school at 16. Once an ITN reporter, Southgate is the voice of the regions in Council meetings, making regional affairs his main point of advocacy.

Usha Prashar

At 47, the youngest Council member, and the only one from the ethnic minorities. Having served with the Race Relations Board and the Runnymede Trust, she is in charge of the cultural diversity monitoring committee of the Council.

Prudence Skene

Chairs the dance panel as well as running the Arts Foundation. An arts administrator of long service, she was the executive director of the English Shakespeare Company and executive director of Ballet Rambert.

Stephen Phillips

Formerly arts correspondent for Channel 4. He made his presence felt when, chairing the touring advisory panel, he argued that money should be given for production-based projects rather than building-based companies. He won.

Clive Priestley

Served in the prime minister's office as chief of staff to Sir Derek Rayner, head of the efficiency unit. He carried out financial scrutinies of the RSC and Royal Opera House and, to Mrs Thatcher's horror, loved what he saw.


The Arts Council Secretariat includes a head of department and assistants for every art form, and advises the Council on policy. It is itself advised by a series of specialist panels and committees

The Secretariat is led by Mary Allen, a former actress who later headed Watermans Arts Centre in Brentford. She shares Lord Gowrie's desire for a more dirigiste Council, tying the odd condition to a grant, and has hinted that unless government funding is drastically increased she will oversee a Council that cuts its number of clients sharply next year.

Mary Allen has made a number of new appointments among the department heads.

Kathryn McDowell, who has replaced Ken Baird as music director, comes fresh from being number two at the Ulster Orchestra. Sparky and energetic, she will continue the Baird philosophy of encouraging challenging and contemporary work, but has also significantly increased the funding for Afro-Caribbean music. She would like to see an orchestra based in a south- east coastal resort. Heritage Secretary Steph-en Dorrell was presumably relieved to see the back of Mr Baird - he used to fag for him at school.

The drama and dance departments also have new blood. Hilary Carty, who was general manager of Agido pan-African dance ensemble, oversees the dance department, where her brief includes monitoring and recommending grants not just for contemporary dance but for the Royal Ballet and the other well known classical troupes. Nick Jones, the administrative director of Dundee Rep, has just been appointed head of the drama department.

Alistair Niven, a specialist in Commonwealth literature and former director of the Africa Centre, heads the literature panel, and his Commonwealth interests are reflected in the grants.

Kate Devey, former executive director of the Oxford Stage Company, is in charge of the touring panel; and Marjorie Allthorpe-Guyton, former editor of the now defunct magazine Artscribe and assistant curator of Norwich Castle Museum, sustains the visual arts department's reputation as a haven for the avant-garde.


The National Lottery makes massive sums available to the arts. Three bodies oversee the money's distribution

With upwards of £175m a year to spend, the lottery distributing bodies will have an important say in defining the cultural priorities of the next decade and more. Will they be more receptive to an application to redevelop the Royal Opera House or one for a series of community centres for grass-roots arts?

The three bodies with money to give to the arts are: the Arts Council's lottery advisory board, the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Millennium Commission.

The Arts Council's panel has, more than the Council itself, nodded in the direction of actual performers and practitioners. The jazz singer Cleo Laine is there, as are the architect Patricia Hopkins and the film director Sir David Puttnam.Given Puttnam's enthusiasm for the possibilities of CD-rom, and film's status as the Cinderella art form in terms of public funding, he can be expected to make his presence felt.

The panel is chaired by Peter Gummer, and includes Ruth Mackenzie, the director of Nottingham Playhouse, Paddy Masefield, a member of the National Disability Arts Forum, Nima Poovaya-Smith, keeper at the Bradford Art Gallery and Museum, Tony Pender, the chairman of the Northern Sinfonia and John Foulds, chairman of the Halifax Building Society.

The National Heritage Memorial Fund, dedicated to restoring great buildings and saving national treasures (from beauty spots to the Mappa Mundi), will see its funds increase from £12m to around £150m. The chairman, Lord Rothschild, is keen for the NHMF to support more unusual projects - illuminating cultural buildings at night, for example. His chief executive is Georgina Nayler, who has worked her way up through the NHMF; they are supported by a committee of trustees.

The Millennium Commission is likely to have £1.6bn to spend, but is still to define what a millennium project is (A forest? A museum of modern art?). It is officially chaired by the Heritage Secretary Stephen Dorrell. The director is Jenny Page, shortly to move from her post of chief executive at English Heritage.

However, the commission's driving force is said to be Simon Jenkins, the former editor of the Times with strong interests in the environment. Other members include Michael Montague, the former chairman of the English Tourist Board, Michael Heseltine, Sir John Hall, the chairman of Newcastle United, the Earl of Dalkeith, and the barrister Patricia Scotland.

It's very much an establishment group - it will be interesting to see how they respond to requests for a celebration of ethnic communities, for instance. They won't be short of advice as they, alone among the panels, will tour the country to sound out public opinion.