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Grants for the arts: focus on combined arts

  • Date: 2 February 2011
  • Artform: Combined arts
  • Area: South East
ship at night with fireworks Ghost Ship, Walk the Plank, Portsmouth Festivties, 2009, Allan Hutchings

With its ability to defy traditional boundaries and engage audiences, combined arts continues to be one of the most innovative artforms here in the south east - all supported through Grants for the arts.

Grants for the arts is the Arts Council's open access funding scheme, which supports arts activities that engage people in the arts and helps artists and arts organisations with their work.

From April to December 2010, we supported 27 combined arts projects with £1,371,071 in Grants for the arts awards. Awards ranged from £1,608 to support a small improvisation festival in Oxford to £350,000 towards Folkestone Triennial 2011, a major contemporary art exhibition in public spaces. 

Vidya Thirunarayan, Relationship Manager, Combined Arts and Touring, says: 'We support a huge range of combined arts projects, from carnival to cultural festivals and from community arts to sound arts projects.'  

Carnival arts and festivals

From April to December 2010, five carnival and cultural festivals were supported with £49,680 in Grants for the arts awards. 

Last October, Portsmouth shopping and leisure waterfront destination Gunwharf Quays organised Fiesta Mexicana, a community art project based on the Mexican Day of the Dead, Dia de los Muertos

Over 750 families and school children took part in school and half term workshops, run by Arts Council England regularly funded organisation Same Sky and arts organisations Take Part Arts and Copperdollar

Participants made sugar skulls and brightly coloured skeleton lantern masks, painted skeletons and butterflies, and took part in a dance workshop. 

The finale procession attracted over 9,500 people, who were treated with a Mexican wedding band, parade and fireworks and fire and light display from pyrotechnic specialists, The World Famous.

Fiesta Mexicana was supported with a £9,900 Grants for the arts award.

John Sackett, Promotions and Events Manager, Gunwharf Quays, says: 'Halloween has become increasingly commercialised in the UK, and we thought celebrating the Mexican tradition of honouring its deceased ancestors was a good counter balance, with its focus on art, craft and dance celebratory activity.'

Multi-disciplinary and inter-disciplinary arts

From April to December 2010, five multi-disciplinary arts projects and three inter-disciplinary arts projects were supported with Grants for the arts awards of £211,608 and £308,034 respectively. 

Crawley theatre and arts centre The Hawth was supported with a £99,999 Grants for the arts award for Going Global, a two-year programme of international and culturally diverse music, theatre, dance and performance.  

Lélia Gréci, Arts & Events Officer, The Hawth says: 'We're very excited about Going Global - upcoming shows include Stepping Out East, South East Asian dance showcase, Ukranian theatre group Mimirichi's Plastic Fantastic, and Senegalese band Les Frères Guissé

'Going Global is a fantastic opportunity for us to reach emerging communities with theatre productions such as Iran, 2, Poland, 3, a play from UK-based Persian company 30 Bird Productions and Polish artist Dobrowski.

'Our international commission is Diaspora, with French theatre company Compagnie Animotion. Our local communities enjoyed them so much last year that they encouraged us to commission the company's return.' 

Community arts

From April to December 2010, four community combined arts projects were supported with £380,054 in Grants for the arts awards. 

This June, Portsmouth residents are invited to take part in a space-inspired carnival procession on the final day of Portsmouth Festival. 

Portsmouth Festivities, supported with a £75,520 Grants for the arts award, have commissioned outdoor specialists Walk the Plank to produce community workshops and spectacular finale event called Lift Off!

Liz Pugh, Producer, Walk the Plank, says: 'We look forward to working with children, young people and community groups to create a procession with a real wow factor.  

'We'd like to show significant figures in the history of flight to celebrate the science behind man's attempts to reach for the stars - from Icarus with his wax wings flying too close to the sun to the astronauts who orbit the earth.'

Outdoor arts

Environmental art group Red Earth's Chalk uses two locations on the new South Downs National Park in Sussex to create site-specific sculpture installations, journeys and performances. 

Working with the National Trust for the fourth time, Chalk brings together geologists, archaeologists, ecologists, international artists, local communities and the public. Chalk is supported with a £100,000 Grants for the arts award.

Simon Pascoe, Co-Director, Red Earth says: 'We're working on two installations, at Harting Down in Chichester and at Wolstonbury Hill in Brighton. We're coppicing (cutting) the wood and building in March and April. Both installations will be open at the end of May, although people are very welcome to come and see us working, and even join in. 

'We're organising four sets of walks guided by specialists such as archaeologists and orchid specialists. There's a natural navigational walk with Tristan Gooley, and another where you learn how to search for wild food.

'We're working with guest Japanese artist Atsushi Takenouchi, who we last worked with on Enclosure. We've also invited a Mongolian artist, Baadma, who sings Longsong, bringing the steppes of Mongolia to the South Downs. 

'We're also working with students from Chichester Festival Youth Theatre, Chichester University and Brighton City College for performances in September and in October.'

This year, Newhaven town centre and harbour will host two exciting outdoor arts events, from Brighton large scale outdoor arts producers Zap Art and renowned French street arts company, Generik Vapeur. 

Zap's ZEPA Project is supported with a £45,562 Grants for the arts award.

On Saturday 12 March, Generik Vapeur's larger than life mobile camera will rove the streets of Newhaven in La Photo Communale II. The photographs will be used as a backdrop for their Newhaven Cormorant! harbour event on 16 July. 

Veronica Stephens, ZEPA Project Coordinator, Zap Art says: 'Newhaven Cormorant! will be a site specific, spectacle performance with a musical procession and breathtaking aerial feats.'

'We're also working together with the ZEPA partners and No Fit State Circus to develop a new commission called Barricade, which will be presented at the FUSE Festival in 2012.'

Partners include ZEPA, Newhaven Town Council, Lewes District Council, and East Sussex County Council.  

Grants for the arts is a flexible fund and welcomes first-time applicants. For more information on how to apply, please see: