Arts Body Working With The Arches

Arts body Creative Scotland is working to see how the artistic activities of The Arches can continue after administrators were called in at the venue, the Culture Secretary has said.

Fiona Hyslop has encouraged the arts organisation to continue their "hard work'' with the Glasgow venue, which she described as a "powerhouse of culture and arts activity''.

The Arches announced yesterday that it would appoint administrators following the forced closure of its nightclub.

Management said they were ''left with no other choice'' after licensing bosses in Glasgow ruled last month that the venue will have to close at midnight every day over a series of police complaints about drug misuse and disorder.

The nightclub generated more than half of The Arches' annual turnover but early closing times have made the business model ''untenable''.

Sandra White, MSP for Glasgow Kelvin, raised the plight of the venue at First Minister's Questions at Holyrood, saying there could be 130 potential job losses.

Mr Swinney, who was standing in for Nicola Sturgeon during the First Minster's trip to the US, said that the Scottish Government will do all it can to help the venue.

Almost 40,000 people have signed a petition calling for the reinstatement of its licence and a group of 400 creative voices, including author Irvine Welsh, members of Mogwai, Belle & Sebastian and Franz Ferdinand, also signed an open letter calling on the Government and creative bodies to ensure The Arches remains as an arts venue.

Ms Hyslop said  "The Arches has been a powerhouse of culture and arts activity over the past twenty-four years.

"Its arts programme has made an important contribution to cultural life in Scotland and its reputation as a place for creative innovation and ground-breaking performance is well-deserved and recognised at home and internationally.

"I met with Janet Archer from Creative Scotland again this morning to get a further update on the situation and to encourage them to continue their hard work with the Arches and the cultural sector in Glasgow.

"I understand the Arches Board has had to make a difficult but understandable decision.

"The Scottish Government through Creative Scotland and previously the Scottish Arts Council have supported the arts activity at The Arches with £11.2 million of public funding (including £3.8 million capital funding) over the past 20 years, and we recognise the Arches board's appreciation of the contribution made by Creative Scotland and their flexibility and support over the last few weeks.

"Creative Scotland are continuing to work with The Arches and Glasgow City Council/Glasgow Life to see how those artistic activities, which clearly inspired so many of our artists, can continue.''

She said that the Scottish Government stands ready to support those staff affected through its initiative for responding to redundancy situations, Partnership Action for Continuing Employment (PACE).

Police raised licensing issues last year after the drugs-related death of 17-year-old Regane MacColl at the club and a number of other incidents.

The club agreed to implement a number of measures and it remained open, but issues were raised again recently.

At First Minister's Questions, Mr Swinney said: ''Creative Scotland is working hard with the organisation and with other partners to explore options regarding the future of arts programming of this nature in Glasgow.

''Creative Scotland agreed with Glasgow Life and Glasgow City Council to bring forward some of this year's support for the Arches - £92,000 from Creative Scotland and £37,000 from Glasgow City Council to assist with the delivery of the current arts programme in the short-term.

"I reassure Sandra White that we will look in all ways that we possibly can do to assist in safeguarding the future of what I recognise as a significant cultural venue in the city of Glasgow and a venue that contributes a great deal to the cultural life of Scotland.''

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