Over a hundred leading artists including David Hockney, Damien Hirst, Anthony Caro, Howard Hodgkin, Anish Kapoor, Richard Hamilton, Bridget Riley, Antony Gormley and Tracey Emin have joined the campaign to make the case against the proposed 25% cuts in government funding of the arts.
The campaign is launched today with the release of a new video animation by artist David Shrigley highlighting the effect of the funding cuts and a new work by Jeremy Deller with Scott King. Each week the work of a different artist, created in response to the campaign, will be released. Mark Wallinger will present the next project.
Supporters of the artists' campaign will be asked to sign a petition which will be sent to the Culture Secretary, Jeremy Hunt. It points out that it has taken 50 years to create a vibrant arts culture in Britain that is the envy of the world and appeals to the government not to slash arts funding and risk destroying this long-term achievement and the social and economic benefits it brings to all.
The artists acknowledge that reasonable cuts and efficiencies are necessary but they fear that the 25% cuts being proposed will destroy much of what has been achieved and will have a particularly damaging impact on national and regional museums and their collections.
The campaign is being organised by the London branch of a national consortium of over 2,000 arts organisations and artists dedicated to working together and finding new ways to support the arts in the UK.
The costs of David Shrigley's animation have been covered with a grant from the Paul Hamlyn Foundation.
Robert Dufton, Paul Hamlyn Foundation Director, said: "We are pleased to support this campaign and hope that its message is taken on board. As independent funder of the arts we are aware of the effect that cuts will have on many of the organisations we support. We stand to lose a great deal as a society if arts organisations are forced to stop the very valuable work they do."