The U.K. appointed a new commissioner to lead the arts sector’s COVID-19 recovery.

Daria Simone Harper
May 22, 2020 4:19PM, via The Art Newspaper

Neil Mendoza, the new U.K. Commissioner for Cultural Recovery and Renewal, in 2015. Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images

The U.K. government has created a new position to lead the arts community’s reopening following the COVID-19 pandemic. Neil Mendoza, the provost of Oxford’s Oriel College, has been appointed as the Commissioner for Cultural Recovery and Renewal. He will offer the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) “the strongest, most innovative ideas for [the cultural sector’s] renewal” in the wake of the crisis, according to a government announcement..

In 2017, Mendoza led a year-long independent review of the U.K. museum sector on behalf of the DCMS. His review provided recommendations on how the government might adapt and provide better funding, diversity, and sustainability. As commissioner, Mendoza will be responsible for getting the U.K.’s cultural sector moving again. One major concern is the issue of finances; DCMS will lobby for extra funding during an upcoming government spending review.

In a statement, Mendoza said:

Our outstanding creativity and arts excellence sets an example for the world. The people that work in cultural sectors want to work, to help continue to support and inspire their communities. DCMS intends to help them do just that through this pandemic and be ready for renewal once social distancing is over.

Though small and mid-size galleries will begin reopening in the U.K. on June 1st, larger museums must hold off until early July. Earlier this month, English museums called on Arts Council England to petition the government for an arts bailout of approximately £250 million ($308.6 million).

Daria Simone Harper