The Lighthouse’s former director Stuart MacDonald is blaming the Scottish design centre’s decline into administration yesterday on ‘poor leadership’.
MacDonald, who led The Lighthouse for eight years from its foundation in 1999, calls the news a ‘disastrous tragedy’, and says he would consider returning to the Glasgow gallery in an advisory role if the leadership team changes.
Currently under the directorship of Nick Barley, the organisation is reported to be in £220 000 worth of debt. This comes after the Six Cities Design Festival, managed by The Lighthouse, was cancelled, and losses were incurred in mounting the Venice Biennale project.
Barclay Price, director of Arts & Business Scotland, says that The Lighthouse had suffered as its Charles Rennie Mackintosh-designed home was too far off the beaten track, despite being in the centre of Glasgow. He adds that the building is ‘difficult to get people through’. Price adds the organisation had also suffered as it is ‘one of a kind’ and doesn’t sit in the normal funding profile for the Scottish Arts Council.
Dave Moutrey, chief executive of Manchester arts centre Cornerhouse, sympathises with the plight of The Lighthouse, admitting, ‘We have also noticed a drop in sponsorship.’ He warns that, ‘This is the worst time in 15 years to have to put together a crisis plan relying on private money.’
MacDonald calls on ‘able people’ to come up with ‘interesting ideas to save The Lighthouse’, and claims that ‘there is still lots of goodwill towards the gallery’.