Letter: Incoherence in arts subsidies

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The Independent Online
Sir: The ironic position of the Serpentine Gallery, in being both the recipient of an increased Arts Council grant and under threat of closure due to the imposition of a pounds 90,000 rent increase from the Department of National Heritage within 24 hours, highlights, once again, the need for a coherent national and long-term investment policy for the arts and museums ('Arts Council grant freeze is blamed on Government', 17 December).

Throughout the country, years of under-investment, the aftermath of the dissolution of the metropolitan councils, the effects of the poll-tax debacle and now the uncertainties of reorganisation on local authority funding are taking their toll on large and small, conventional and innovative alike.

All hope cannot be vested in the proceeds of the lottery - buildings need revenue and the prestigious need the ginger effect of the experimental. Celebration of the millennium will be vacuous if the valuable outreach and educational work currently undertaken by arts organisations is cut.

Yours faithfully,

HILARY GRESTY

Director, Visual Arts and Galleries Association

Ely, Cambridgeshire

19 December

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