Wales

Mathew Prichard: Private funds cannot plug arts gap

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Media captionMathew Prichard, grandson of novelist Agatha Christie, donates some royalties to art projects

One of Wales' most generous donors to the arts said it was not the role of private sponsors to plug the gaps left by cuts in public funding.

Mathew Prichard, the grandson of novelist Agatha Christie, donates the royalties from some of her work to art projects in Wales.

Last year, the Arts Council of Wales (ACW) warned groups not to rely on its grants after a further funding cut.

But Mr Prichard said private sponsors could not fund on their own.

"It is perhaps a little bit naive of anybody to suggest that private organisations, even those that are lucky like ourselves in having at the moment quite bit of money to distribute, we can't do it on our own, neither can we replace what government organisations can do," he told BBC Wales.

"But I happen to believe very strongly that we can help and we can provide additional resources to make everything perhaps a little bit more exciting, and I think that makes a huge difference."

'Culture flourish'

ACW said the likes of Welsh National Opera and National Theatre Wales would still get their money this year but they would need to rely more heavily on income generation in the future.

Welsh National Opera is among the beneficiaries of Agatha Christie's success.

The money is channelled through a body called the Colwinston Trust, which invites applications for funding and has previously donated around £500,000 a year to various projects.

It will give away an extra £500,000 to mark the 125th anniversary of Agatha Christie's birth this year.

Mr Prichard added: "Public funding is hugely important and nobody - no philanthropist, no private organisation, no trust - can support the arts unless it is on a strong basis of what the Arts Council in Wales and the Welsh government allocate.

"We cannot fund non-existent organisations, we cannot fund even organisations that are not able to employ really exciting talent, because otherwise there's no point."

Ken Skates, the Welsh government's deputy minister for culture, who oversees the arts council's budget, said: "There is always going to be a role, in my view, for government support for culture and for arts, and for sport as well.

"However, if we truly want to be ambitious, if we want to see our arts and culture flourish as I do and as the Welsh government does, we have to embrace crowd-funding more than we ever have done before and that includes philanthropy."

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