International funding news – March 2015

Seattle Symphony’s endowment has received a major boost through a donation of USD2.5M (€2.3M) from board chair Leslie Jackson Chihuly. This takes their total endowment to USD25M (€23M). ‘The Seattle Symphony has by far the smallest endowment of its peer group,’ said president and CEO Simon Woods. ‘Leslie’s gift forms part of our ongoing efforts to at least triple the size of the endowment over the coming years.’ The donation has been earmarked to create the Leslie Jackson Chihuly Chair, which will fund the symphony’s executive leadership position – the role currently held by Woods. Chihuly, who has been board chair for six years, said: ‘The Symphony is the jewel in the crown of Seattle’s arts organisations, and its incredible success in the past four years has been evident for all to see. Since the day Simon arrived in Seattle, he has been my partner in the quest to make Seattle Symphony one of America’s most forward-thinking and dynamic orchestras.’

Almost NZD500,000 (€300,000) has been awarded by Creative New Zealand as part of their Quick Response Grant programme. The grants of up to NZD7,500 (€5,100) fund projects that have to be completed within a year of the award. Overall, 82 applicants were successful, including 19 Ngā Toi Māori and 11 Pacific Arts projects, the traditional art forms of the New Zealand islands. In addition the Tohunga Tukunga programme, which funds the mentoring of apprentice Ngā Toi Māori artists, awarded two grants totalling NZD9,745 (€6,600). More than NZD1.5M (€1M) was requested from 252 applications, with 32 per cent being successful.

The future of arts education in Wales has been laid out in a new report titled Creative Learning Through the Arts – an Action Plan for Wales. Published by the Welsh Government in partnership with Arts Council Wales, the plan recommends establishing a Lead Creative Schools programme to focus creative skills in certain schools; starting an All-Wales Arts and Education Programme to create more opportunities for artists and creative educators; and the creation of an ‘Experiencing the Arts’ fund to increase access to the arts for students. GBP20m(€27.8m), split 50-50 between the Welsh Government and Arts Council Wales, will be put towards the programme. Wales education minister Huw Lewis said: ‘The arts fire up our imagination, inspire us and help us develop new skills. I want young people, particularly from less well-off backgrounds, to have greater access to high quality arts and creative experiences in schools throughout Wales.’