Austerity is taking its toll on the arts in the UK, and these days, every penny must be accounted for. The Arts Professional is outraged that Arts Council England executive director Andrea Stark will be taking a sabbatical, with full six-figure salary, until June 2013 to become the head of the charity arts organization High House Production Park. By taking sabbatical time rather than quitting outright, Stark will become eligible for a £100,000 ($160,000) severance pay-out from ACE should she want to continue as the chief executive of HHPP.
Two years ago, the government cut ACE’s budget by 30 percent, and the cuts look likely to continue until at least 2016. As a result, the British media has paid particular attention to large buyouts and high salaries for public officials. Just last night, the outgoing chair of ACE, Liz Forgan, called for more public investment in the arts at a lecture in the British Museum’s Egyptian Sculpture Gallery that, it was pointed out, had nearly been axed due to its expense.
— Shane Ferro
(Image: Austerity protests in Britain, Getty Images)