Scottish Government to help The Arches arts venue

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.

John Swinney confirmed that some funding for the venue would be brought forward. Picture: John Devlin
John Swinney confirmed that some funding for the venue would be brought forward. Picture: John Devlin

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 on Wednesday that it would appoint administrators following the forced closure of its nightclub.

Management said they were “left with no other choice” after licensing leaders 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 future of the venue at First Minister’s Questions at Holyrood yesterday, saying there could be 130 job losses.

Deputy First Minister John 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 and 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 24 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 (chief executive) 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


“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 £3.8m of 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 to see how those artistic activities, which clearly inspired so many of our artists, can continue.”

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 stayed open, but issues were raised again recently.

Mr Swinney said: “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.”