A dancer performs for crowds using glowing hoops.

To the beach

Posted on 13 February 2017

A new network for cultural organisations and local authorities is helping take great art and culture to people living in coastal communities around England.

A dancer performs with glowing hoops
Flame Oz performing at SO Festival 2016. Photo © SO Festival 

Contemporary art and culture have been helping to revive many coastal towns following the decline of traditional tourism.  

To help this trend continue the Coastal Culture Network has been set-up. 

The network is being led by Hastings Borough Council as a legacy of the Opera for All project by Magna Vitae Leisure Trust and Garsington Opera, and in partnership with the Costal Communities Alliance. 

It will bring together local authorities, cultural organisations, Coastal Community Teams and other local groups to share good practice, information and opportunities.

The ambition is to help promote the benefits of art and culture and increase the number of events and activities on offer.

Talking about the network, Matt Warman MP said “I’ve seen the positive role that culture can play in the coastal community I represent in Boston & Skegness and am therefore very happy to support the new Coastal Culture Network to help share good practice and promote the benefits of cultural activity in more communities around the coast.”

Four dancers performing
Collectif Malunes, Sens-Dessus-Dessous. Photo © David Street

Across England, our funding is supporting arts and cultural organisations to encourage regeneration and economic growth in coastal and seaside towns.

Supported by our National Portfolio funding, the Turner Contemporary has helped add £7.8 million to the local economy, with more than 2.1 million people visiting the gallery since it opened.

Initially supported through our Grants for the Arts fund, SO Festival in Skegness now attracts more than 80,000 people each year, encouraging the local authority to increase its own investment in culture from £30,000 to £350,000.

And our Strategic Touring programme is helping Seachange Arts to bring world-class circus and street art to coastal towns around the country through its Coasters programme.

It’s been great to see our investment in arts and culture enriching life in coastal and seaside towns, both for local residents and holidaymakers.

"The Coastal Culture Network is a really exciting opportunity to build on this," said Laura Dyer, Executive Director, Arts Council England.

"We hope to see it bringing together new partnerships, as well as encouraging the sharing of best practice, helping to bring great art and culture to more people."

Get involved

The Coastal Culture Network will launch on the Coastal Communities Alliance website on Monday 27 February 2017.

Members can create a profile, search other member profiles to build partnerships, and access case studies, information and resources. 

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