CULTURAL venues and initiatives outside of Scotland’s central belt are “at risk of being overlooked” as they struggle to stay afloat during the coronavirus crisis, it has been warned.
DG Unlimited, a membership organisation for Dumfries and Galloway’s creative sector, said a “significant minority” of the population live in island and rural locations.
It said it would be an “irreparable travesty” if the practitioners, technicians and freelancers who make up the backbone of Scotland’s cultural scene receive little or no benefit from emergency funding.
The body suggested an “art out to help out” scheme – similar to the recent Eat Out to Help Out initiative from the UK Government – to help businesses survive the crisis.
The Scottish Government said it is acutely aware of the devastating impact of the pandemic on the cultural sector across Scotland.
DG Unlimited has more than 470 members and works with leading arts events such as Wigtown Book Festival.
In written evidence to Holyrood’s Culture, Tourism, Europe and External Affairs Committee, it said the impact of Covid-19 on the cultural and creative industries will be long-term.
The organisation highlighted two main concerns, the first being the “equitable distribution of the economic support package”.
It said freelancers, artists and volunteers must not be forgotten.
The second is that “cultural infrastructure beyond the central belt is at risk of being overlooked”.
The body said: “The principle of an ‘elastic economy’ does not apply and the sector will not bounce back overnight once the ‘new normal’ has been established.
“The challenge for Dumfries and Galloway is compounded by the fact that pre-pandemic we were struggling already.
“Local authority spend per head on culture and related services places our region the sixth lowest in Scotland at £74.461.
“Out of 121 organisations within Creative Scotland’s regular funding network there are only two from Dumfries and Galloway and just three from…