AN artists' union has urged the Scottish Government to “rethink” the funding model for Scotland’s cultural institutions in the wake of the closure of a prestigious art gallery in Edinburgh.

Speaking to The National, a spokesperson for the Scottish Artists Union (SAU) said the temporary closure of the Modern Two art gallery in Edinburgh is “just the tip of the iceberg” when it comes to the funding crisis facing many of the country’s cultural venues.

They said: “We are acutely aware of the current precarious financial circumstances for organisations and individuals working across the cultural sectors that have been chronically underfunded for decades.

“The visual arts and applied arts sectors have been operating like a stretched elastic band, with artists and makers - many of whom are self-employed, sole traders, and small businesses – having to be nimble and adaptive in order to survive.

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“This has become increasingly difficult and is not sustainable.

“SAU have already heard reports of smaller arts venues and galleries, in various parts of Scotland, that are also 'struggling to keep the lights on' or have announced closure until spring 2023.

“The massive increase in heating and energy costs have completely undermined the integrity of existing operational budgets for non-profit arts organisations.”

The trade union, which represents over 1000 workers in Scotland, said that the failure of arts institutions also negatively impacts other parts of the economy.

“The arts sectors are interdependent and intertwined with the hospitality & tourism sectors - all across Scotland,” they added.

“There are potentially severe consequences from the collapse of any part of the arts sectors, as there will be domino impacts that are sure to affect other parts of the Scottish economy.”

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There is uncertainty about how the arts sector funding will be impacted in next year’s Scottish Government budget, but the union acknowledged that whatever happens is “partially due to knock-on impacts” of the country’s block grant from Westminster.

In the long term the union urged the Scottish Government to “rethink ways to develop arts funding streams that are sourced and generated within Scotland.”

They said: “This would result in less of a dependency on National Lottery Funding or the block grant from Westminster.

“In addition, SAU strongly advocates the introduction of a Universal Basic Income, and we look on with interest at recent developments in Ireland where a UBI pilot scheme for creatives has been introduced.”

Modern Two’s closure came less than two weeks after the Centre for the Moving Image announced the closure of the Filmhouse cinema in Edinburgh and the Belmont cinema in Aberdeen.

It has raised fears that other arts venues across Scotland may not survive the cost-of-living crisis, particular those outside of the central belt.