Five towns across England were today (20 September 2013) chosen to share up to £400,000 from the government and Arts Council England to get people from all backgrounds involved in local arts projects.
Groups in Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Burnley and Thurrock in Essex will each be bidding for up to £80,000 from the Department for Communities and Local Government and the Arts Council for projects to increase participation in the arts. These could include getting theatre touring companies to take in those towns, organising for artist residencies locally, making it easier for people to attend or submit works to local arts festivals and making more use of public display spaces.
Artistic closeness, not difference
Speaking at acta community theatre in Bristol, Communities Minister Don Foster said:
Local arts events are a brilliant way of bringing people from all different backgrounds together and I expect great and creative things from Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Burnley and Thurrock. Whatever they choose to put on locally – whether it’s organising events, opening up new spaces to show off art works or putting on classes and talks – I know they will get local people involved with the arts. Artists sometimes talk of the differences between themselves individually but we must not forget the great closeness that the arts can create among people.
Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Burnley and Thurrock have been chosen as towns with a strong record in local arts projects. Local organisations including councils as well as arts, cultural, voluntary and community groups in the 5 towns will be able to bid for the Arts Council’s National Lottery-funded grants for the arts scheme for funding of up to £40,000 per town. If successful the Department for Communities and Local Government will double this through its arts and communities programme to up to £80,000 per town. The funding will be confirmed in coming months and run for 1 year. A further year’s funding is possible for schemes that are producing good results. The government’s approach to integration sets out the arts as a key way of bringing people together.
Alan Davey, Chief Executive, Arts Council England said:
Now more than ever, there is a strong need to support grassroots arts initiatives and projects that will bring our communities closer together. England is constantly growing, changing and evolving. With economic and population growth in our cities and towns, there is a role for arts and culture to play in creating community cohesion, instilling civic pride and reimagining our public spaces.
We are delighted to be launching the Arts and Communities programme with the Department for Communities and Local Government enabling places that are already doing some innovative work to do even more of it.