THE Arts Council has announced a £160 million emergency response package to support individual artists, freelancers and cultural organisations across the country, including in Sussex.

The intervention is designed to complement the financial measures already announced by the Government to help the wider economy.

In addition to this emergency response package, the Arts Council will also postpone the National Portfolio Organisation investment process (for organisations who receive regular core funding from the Arts Council).

The process for 2022-26 was due to begin this autumn. Instead, it will roll over its current National Portfolio for one year to 2023.

The financial crisis is acute for the cultural sector.

Evidence shows that closures and cancelled contracts are causing massive and unsustainable loss of revenues. The new measures are intended to support individuals and organisations and help them develop creative responses to the Covid-19 crisis and to buoy the public during the period of lockdown.

The Arts Council’s sole priority is to use its financial resources to support artists and creative practitioners, museums, libraries, and arts organisations, so that they can continue to serve their communities during the crisis, and reboot creatively after it is over.

Sir Nicholas Serota, chairman of Arts Council England, said: “Covid-19 is having an impact globally, far beyond the cultural sector – but our responsibility is to sustain our sector as best we can, so that artists and organisations can continue to nourish the imagination of people across the country, both during the crisis and in the period of recovery.

“Over the last week, I have been deeply moved by the response of artists and cultural organisations to this crisis. Not just their imagination and invention, but also their generosity, and their care for one another and their communities.

“None of us can hope to weather this storm alone, but by working together in partnership, I believe we can emerge the stronger, with ideas shared, new ways of working, and new relationships forged at the local, national and even international level.”