Cartoon Museum awarded massive grant as part of government #HereForCulture initiative

Photo: Will Potter

The London-based Cartoon Museum has been awarded a grant of £96,000 by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport and Arts Council England as part of the Cultural Recovery Fund. The funding will support the museum to combat the severe financial threat resulting from the museum’s closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic, deliver two exciting new exhibitions ready for the reopening of the Museum, and deliver an exciting new programme of events and projects.

The entrance to the Museum

The Cartoon Museum temporarily closed on 18th March 2020, and reopened for just seven weeks last year, from September until lockdown in November. It has remained closed since then. As an independent museum, with no regular government or local council support – and where 75% of annual income stream is from admissions, events, shop, and venue hire – the lengthy closure posed a serious threat to the existence and future of the museum.

Sadly, the COVID pandemic also brought more personal loss to the dedicated Cartoon Museum team, with the loss of much-loved staffer Alison Brown in January, whose death still resonates in the British comics community.

During 2020, the museum saw incredible fundraising support from Friends, supporters and the cartooning and comics community. With the support of the government’s Culture Recovery Fund the museum can continue its recovery from the effects of the pandemic, and plan to reopen and welcome back visitors in May as part of the government’s road out of lockdown.

“We are incredibly thankful to receive support from DCMS and Arts Council England during this a difficult time,” commented Cartoon Museum Director Joe Sullivan. “Their support will continue our road to recovery, and allow us to develop exciting new exhibitions, events and activities ready for our reopening. We look forward to welcoming back visitors to see our unique, nationally-important collection of British cartoons, comics and caricatures in person as soon as is possible.”

“We are hugely grateful for the £96,000 donation from the Arts Council and DCMS,” added Chair of Trustees, Oliver Preston. “After what has been a very worrying 12 months, the museum can now see light at the end of the tunnel.

“This museum of laughter has an exciting new programme of exhibitions and events and is looking forward to welcoming new audiences and old friends with a sense of hope and optimism.”

The Cartoon Museum champions cartoon and comic art, highlighting its importance to culture and society. Since 2006 it has received 420k visitors, and built a nationally important collection of 4,300 cartoons, comics and caricatures, and a library of 18k items. The Cartoon Museum runs a well-attended school programme and sell-out school holiday workshops, and over 50k children and adults have attended cartooning, comics and animation workshops at the museum.

Find out more about the work of the Cartoon Museum and donate to support it and its work here on the Museum’s web site.

The Here For Culture Movement

Here For Culture Logo

The latest government support for the Cartoon Museum is part of the wider Here for Culture (#HereForCulture) movement that unites the public, government and cultural organisations in support of British fantastic cinemas, theatres, music venues, museums, galleries and heritage.

“Whether on the global stage or quietly in our own lives, culture inspires, uplifts, comforts and entertains us,” reads a very welcome government statement. “Now, in these challenging times, it’s our turn to provide a lifeline and show our support. The government is #HereForCulture with an unprecedented amount of funding coming through on top of the furlough scheme, bounce-back loans and emergency grants. The public has been #HereForCulture as organisations have innovated online and outdoors.

“Join us to show your support – whether it’s announcing or welcoming funding or promoting online or COVID-secure ways to experience and enjoy culture.

Here For Culture image
Image: DCMS

“Culture creates jobs, supports livelihoods, and brings joy to everyone. The UK leads the world in the creative industries and we can all feel pride in that.

Now, in these challenging times, it’s our turn to show our support for culture. With an unprecedented investment through the Culture Recovery Fund, the government is #HereForCulture so it can weather the storm of coronavirus and come back stronger.

“With more and more culture being curated online, there is no better time to support and enjoy all the new and exciting ways culture is available to us.

“By being #HereForCulture, we aren’t just supporting the people in the industry, we’re also supporting communities across the country.”

Whatever your political views, this strong statement in support of arts and culture, which, by evidence of this grant to the Cartoon Museum, includes comics, too, is surely a strong statement intent deserving support – and, now, made, the government can be very much held to…

Find out more about the work of the Cartoon Museum and donate to support it and its work at cartoonmuseum.org

Find out more about the government’s Here for Culture support scheme here on the DCMS web site | Check out the #HereforCulture Toolkit for arts organisations

Find out more about the Cultural Recovery Fund

Discover how the Culture Recovery Fund is being invested through our partners.

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The founder of downthetubes, John works as a comics editor, writer, as Creative Consultant on the Dan Dare audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. Working in British comics publishing for over 30 years, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War and “Dan Dare”. He’s the writer of “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood for digital comic 100% Biodegradable.



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