Hidden Art, which has been running for 22 years, had been suffering from a cash shortfall since the London Development Agency withdrew funding in March 2009. The organisation had initially warned that it might be forced to close at the beginning of the year.
It had received 50 per cent of its funding from the European Regional Development Fund, but needed to match this from other sources. Over the past year Hidden Art director Dieneke Ferguson and finance director Manuel Ruiz-Adame had been providing this match-funding out of their own pockets, as no other sources were available.
Ferguson says, ‘We have exhausted all the available options, applying to many different funding sources, but this has not resulted in anything. It’s also a risky strategy, as much of the funding available at the moment is from private investors, who expect a return we might not be able to pay back.’
She adds, ‘Unfortunately in the current climate there is little money available to support small businesses in the creative sector. Our initiatives are heavily subsidised and are not possible without support.’
Hidden Art had supported designers including Ella Doran, Kay & Stemmer and Jethro Macey. It had also collaborated with organisations such as London Metropolitan University to create products such as John Sprange’s Mind Dice, which is designed to help dementia patients.
Hidden Art members can have their membership transferred to Craft Central for the remainer of their subscription. Hidden Art events will continue until the end of September and the organisation will have a stand at 100% Design.
Hidden Art’s e-shop will continue until the end of December and the Cornwall Design Fair, which was in association with Hidden Art, will continue unaffected.