Between 2011 and 2015, we will invest £1.4 billion of public money from government and an estimated £1 billion from the National Lottery in arts and culture in England.

The following is a summary of how we are investing these funds, helping us achieve our mission of Great art and culture for everyone.

National portfolio organisations

Created through an open application process, the National portfolio funding programme replaced our regular funding programme. A total of 696 organisations will receive a total of £1.04 billion between 2012 and 2015.

£18 million per year will be invested in touring for the portfolio, especially in areas of low arts engagement.

A further £10.5 million a year will go towards 10 Bridge organisations: providing a direct connection between the work of arts organisations and schools and communities.

For more information explore our current National portfolio and this interactive map

Major partner museums and the Renaissance programme

In 2011 the Arts Council was given responsibility for museums with the closing of the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council. In January 2012 we announced the 16 organisations to become Major partner museums, receiving regular funding for the three years to March 2015, totalling over £60 million.

The Major partner museums are a part of our Renaissance programme; developing and supporting the museums sector in England. Other funds within the programme include the Designation development fund and the Strategic support fund

Strategic funding

We will invest a total of £440 million in Strategic funds between 2012 and 2015. This funding complements our National portfolio, targeting key areas and seizing opportunities to help us deliver our mission of Great art and culture for everyone.

We introduced a series of Targeted grant programmes (from Capital programmes to Catalyst, developing more resilient arts and cultural organisations) and Grant commissions (from Artsmark to Creative people and places, bringing fresh arts provisions to areas with low engagement).

Grants for the arts

Our flagship funding programme, Grants for the arts is funded through the National Lottery and is open to applicants of any kind – whether organisations or individuals – except for National portfolio organisations. Grants for the arts is a responsive programme; ready to spot new ideas and nurture fresh talent. A Lottery budget of £202 million was ear-marked for the period 2012-15 for Grants for the arts, although this is subject to change.


The Arts Council also took on some responsibility for Libraries with the closure of the Museums Libraries and Archives Council in 2011. So far a specific Grants for the Arts Libraries fund has opened, we published the findings of a sector-wide consultation: Envisioning the library of the future; and we provided investment for 13 projects through the £250,000 Libraries development initiative.