- Date: 29 March 2012
- Area: National
The majority of the 26 projects focus on the refurbishment or extension of existing arts buildings, and range from the replacement of critical equipment to large scale renovations and improvements. The Arts Council proposes to invest just over £114 million in this first round of the fund, its first new capital investment in nine years.
Successful projects include: work to transform areas of Chichester Festival Theatre, the refurbishment of areas of the Southbank Centre to bring them up to the international standard of the Royal Festival Hall; extensions to Embrace Arts at the Richard Attenborough Centre in Leicester and the Square Chapel in Halifax to improve experiences for artists and audiences.
The Arts Council is also backing capital proposals for arts activity within museums, with the extensions of York Museums Trust's Art Gallery and Tate St Ives.
Successful applications also involve the development of 40 affordable artist studios at High House Production Park in Thurrock, a new home for Cornerhouse and the Library Theatre Company in Manchester, and a new space for South East Dance in Brighton.
Successful applicants will now be invited to complete a stage two application within the next 18 months showing plans at a detailed stage of design and development. This will allow the Arts Council to assess the project against criteria including its long-term sustainability and resilience, the potential for partnership funding, and whether the organisation is able to manage and deliver the work proposed.
Alan Davey, Chief Executive, Arts Council England said:
'This programme is about backing a wide range of really exciting proposals to make sure the arts infrastructure is in place for organisations to thrive, for the benefit of artists and audiences across the country.
'The Arts Council hasn't run a capital programme since 2003 so we knew there was a real need to maintain and improve our existing arts and cultural buildings. That's why we've prioritised renovations and refurbishments across the country that deliver sustainability and resilience and ensure organisations have the right facilities and equipment to support and deliver their excellent work.'
The next round of the large scale capital funding programme will open in the summer.
The Arts Council also recognises the need to invest in smaller scale capital work and will be publishing more information about the small capital grants, alongside a number of other new strategic funds, in the coming months.
The Arts Council is also making three awards as a result of the recommendations of the 2006 Whose Theatre...? report by Baroness Lola Young.
This report identified the need for spaces dedicated to the creative development of the Black and minority ethnic sector, including dedicated studio and offices, and spaces to host creative development programmes.
Awards to Tara Arts and Arcola Theatre will contribute to the refurbishment of their premises and the additional rehearsal and workshop space. Friction Arts will receive an award for the completion of a feasibility study for their capital project and a further application to a future round of the capital programme is expected.
The capital programme is one way the Arts Council is investing its strategic funding between 2012 and 2015. Strategic funding, which comes largely from the Arts Council's lottery income, will be used to complement the organisation's £1.04 billion investment in National portfolio organisations. The strategic funding will be used to target key areas and seize opportunities - including investment in encouraging private giving, building audiences for the arts and the creative people and places programme.
The Arts Council Plan for 2011-2015 sets out in more detail how strategic funding will be used to realise the priorities set out in Achieving great art for everyone - the Arts Council's 10-year strategic framework for the arts.