Thursday, 24 March 2011

Dame Vivien Duffield gives £8.2m to arts learning areas

Philanthropist Dame Vivien Duffield has given a total of £8.2m to eleven galleries, theatres and museums to create learning areas for children and young people. Tate Britain and the National Theatre are among recipients as are regional venues like Bath's Holburne Museum. The "creative learning spaces" would help children benefit from the "transforming power of our world class cultural organisations", she said. The Museum of Liverpool and London's Donmar Warehouse will also benefit.

The National Theatre will receive £2.5m from Dame Vivien's Clore Duffield Foundation for a new learning centre to open in 2014, as part of the institution's major redevelopment by architectural firm Haworth Tompkins. Tate Britain will receive the same amount to go towards creating two new education spaces, due to open in 2013, as part of a £45m renovation project by architect Caruso St John.

Some £500,000 each will go to the Donmar in London's Covent Garden and to Kensington Palace. And the Kettle's Yard gallery in Cambridge will receive £250,000 for a learning space with the same amount funding studios at Margate's Turner Contemporary and Manchester's Whitworth Gallery.

Dame Vivien said she was delighted to support "such outstanding projects created by some of the best architects, in museums, galleries and theatres across the country - even in a royal palace. Now more than ever, I believe that culture should be at the heart of our children's learning."

Elsewhere, £200,000 will fund a "Little Liverpool" interactive area for under-fives at the Museum of Liverpool while £125,000 each will go to projects at Bath's Holburne Museum and the Porthcurno Telegraph Museum. A learning centre at the Royal Shakespeare Company, also funded by the grants to the tune of £500,000, has already opened. A further £500,000 is being used to fund a teaching programme which includes theatre workshops.

In the current climate of financial cuts, the government has said it hopes philanthropists can play their part in the arts in filling the funding gap. Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt paid tribute to Dame Vivien's "stunningly generous package" hailing her as "a role model for philanthropists". "The focus on young people and learning and an emphasis on excellence in architecture and design is a thoughtful and enriching gift to present and future generations," he said.