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Arts Council awards first round of grants to empower communities to shape their arts provision

  • Date: 9 August 2012
  • Area: National

We have announced the first commissioned grants from our Creative people and places programme, which is designed to empower communities to take the lead in shaping local arts provision.

The seven consortiums, made up of arts organisations, museums, libraries, local authorities and commercial organisations, working in collaboration with the local community, grass roots organisations and the amateur sector, have been awarded a total of just under £16 million over three years. 

Objectives of the programme

The Creative people and places programme focuses on parts of the country where people's involvement in the arts is significantly below the national average* and takes a new approach by enabling communities and grass roots organisations to play a leading part in inspiring others to get involved with the arts.

Next steps

The projects will now receive a small percentage of their awards in order to develop their plans. All employ innovative ideas for reaching new audiences, including a travelling tea room providing a taster menu of arts opportunities to people across Stoke-on-Trent and a project in Northumberland inspired by the real life Pitmen Painters, whose collection is in the Woodhorn Museum. You can find out more about the successful projects on our Creative people and places pages.

Lee Hall, award-winning screen and stage writer (Billy Elliot, The Pitmen Painters) who is the artistic sponsor of the successful consortium led by Woodhorn Charitable Trust, said: 'I am absolutely delighted the Arts Council are backing this brilliant and inspirational project to bring art of the highest quality to the people of Ashington and South East Northumberland.

'The project is tremendously exciting and innovative. Instead of bringing people to the arts, it will bring art to the people, allowing residencies of excellent artists in many fields to work together with local people.'

The Creative people and places programme is designed to help us achieve our goal of more people experiencing and being inspired by the arts - as set out in our 10-year strategic framework Achieving great art for everyone.

Our Chief Executive, Alan Davey, said: 'I'm excited by the possibilities of this programme and by the vision of the successful applicants. All the projects have the potential to make a visible and lasting impact on the places where the work will happen and, very importantly, they all share the ambition to unite increased access with excellent art.

'We're looking forward to working with them to help them develop their ideas for creating and sharing great art for everyone - which is crucial to the vitality and long-term sustainability of the arts.'

Round two of the programme will open to applications in September 2012.

Interested in engaging audiences?

Browse our case studies around the themes: improving market focus, improving the offer, power of collaboration and building the skills and capcity to engage.

*Locations eligible to apply were identified through an average of Active People survey data over two years (2009 and 2010) and based on the least engaged 20 per cent.