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A strategic framework for the arts

Read Great art and culture for everyone, our 10-year strategic framework for the arts.

You can download the visual arts appendix from our initial Achieving great art for everyone consultation paper in Word format and PDF format.

National portfolio funding

Find out more about visual arts and the national portfolio.

Visual arts is a dynamic artform that seeks constantly to reinvent itself. It embraces a broad range of media, such as painting or moving image work, but it is notable also for blurring boundaries and for collaborating with other social practices and creative disciplines.

Throughout England, contemporary visual art helps to animate and add value to public places and spaces. Buildings of international standard and outstanding architectural quality can now be found in all regions. New galleries such as The Hepworth Wakefield, Turner Contemporary in Margate and firstsite in Colchester have drawn large, enthusiastic audiences.

Much of our funding goes to venues, such as Ikon and the Whitechapel Gallery, to support the production, display and interpretation of contemporary art. We also fund organisations that commission art, such as Artangel and the Liverpool Biennial, along with a range of other agencies that support artists and help to ensure that visual art of the highest quality can be experienced by people wherever they live.

Visual arts will contribute to our Great art and culture for everyone goals and priorities by:

  • nurturing artistic excellence by investing in organisations that incubate, develop and showcase talent within the visual arts. For example, Wysing Arts Centre and Matt's Gallery
  • supporting visual artists by increasing access to good quality, affordable space and facilities, and providing professional development support and advice relevant for all career stages. For example, Acme Studios, Yorkshire Artspace and a-n, The Artists Information Company
  • enabling more people to enjoy and identify with contemporary art by encouraging galleries to diversify their audiences, supported by better information about who those audiences are. For example, VAIL (Visual Arts in Liverpool), Audiences UK's Benchmarking and Audience Development in the Visual Arts project
  • helping more people to engage with excellent art in more places, through an expansion in touring and through partnerships with heritage and environment agencies. For example, Crafts Council and National Trust
  • encouraging the development and wider distribution of public collections and of collecting art among the wider public. For example, Arts Council Collection, Your Paintings and Own Art
  • supporting the Turning Point network so that visual arts organisations in all English regions can work together to adapt to changing circumstances, develop resilient business models, demonstrate civic value and ensure future sustainability. For example, BALTIC and Arnolfini
  • supporting the implementation of the Creative and Cultural Skills/Arts Council England visual arts skills blueprint to increase the professionalism, diversity and working standards of the visual arts sector. For example, National Skills Academy and Engage
  • addressing inconsistent provision of opportunities for children and young people so that all can benefit from the excellent practice that currently exists in the visual arts. For example, South London Gallery and Towner Art Gallery

Featured publication

Great art and culture for everyone

Great art and culture for everyone sets out a 10-year vision for the Arts Council, with five ambitious goals at its heart. Originally published in 2010, this ...

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