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Arts Council England announces successful capital applications in the south west

  • Date: 29 March 2012
  • Area: South West

Arts Council England today (Thursday 29 March) announced the south west organisations that have been successful in the first stage of its new large-scale capital funding programme.

If successful in their second stage applications, Tate St Ives, Plymouth Theatre Royal, Bristol Old Vic and Stroud Valleys Artspace will receive more than £14.5 million between them.

Nationally, there have been 26 successful projects, with the majority focusing on the refurbishment or extension of existing arts buildings, and ranging 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. A full list of projects can be found here.

Bristol Old Vic
Upon successful completion of the first phase of refurbishment later this year, with £6.1million Arts Council investment, Bristol Old Vic then plans to develop its front of house into a more welcoming environment appropriate for a leading regional theatre in the twenty first century.

Plymouth Theatre Royal
Theatre Royal Plymouth plan to modernise their front of house facilities and the approaches to the building and its entrances. The plan also includes the provision of new catering, corporate hospitality and retail facilities and a city-centre workshop space for Creative Learning and community programmes.

Stroud Valleys Artspace
Stroud Valleys Artspace plan a refurbishment that will significantly improve the building's visibility, public access and audience experience by providing a new exhibition space, open plan studios, a refurbished public courtyard, a new kitchen, bar and toilet facilities. The provision of new media training equipment is also planned. Adding insulated external render to the building is also proposed to improve Stroud Valleys Artspace's environmental sustainability. It will be a vibrant contemporary space which will engage new visitors to Gloucestershire through SVA's expansive programme and the Site Festival.

Tate St Ives
Tate St Ives plan to extend their gallery facilities to greatly improve the artistic and learning experience of audiences, confirming the future sustainability of Tate St Ives as an international centre of art and exchange supporting the cultural profile of Cornwall and the south west.

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 which include 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."

Phil Gibby, the Arts Council's Director for the South West said:
"We're delighted that the south west has put together such strong applications for this fund. Developments such as those proposed by Stroud Valleys Artspace, Bristol Old Vic, Plymouth Theatre Royal and Tate St Ives will contribute to the region's cultural infrastructure, help to attract audiences to the region and put in place spaces to provide the people of the south west with great art."

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 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 ten-year strategic framework for the arts.