West England arts groups to get share of £111m pot

Arts organizations across west England are set to get a share of £37m annually in government cash.

In comes after Arts Council England announced its National Portfolio for funded organizations from 2023 to 2026.

The £111m total will be shared among 117 groups across the south west, including ones in Gloucestershire, Bristol, Somerset and Wiltshire.

The council’s chair Sir Nicholas Serota says the funding “will help ignite creativity across the country”.

“We are facing economic pressures at present, but this funding is about an investment in our future,” he said.

“This portfolio will support the next generation of visionary inventors, makers, performers and artists.

“In particular, the growth of our funding for organizations that support and develop work for children represents a profoundly important long-term investment in our country’s talent.”

Arts organisations, museums, and libraries in every corner of the south west will benefit, the council said.

Recipients include Bristol’s Asian Arts Fund, Cheltenham Festival in Gloucestershire, Pound Arts Center in Corsham and Somerset Art Works in Langford.

The council said the fund had a “clear focus on ensuring that investment is concentrated in those places that, historically, have been underserved”.

The government’s Leveling Up for Culture Places in the south west will focus on areas including Gloucester, Swindon and North Somerset which will receive a share of an £18.4m pot, as part of the £111m, over the next three years.

Phil Gibby – the council’s area director – said the funding meant that “no matter who you are, or where you live, there will now be more opportunities than ever before to take part in creativity, be inspired, and share the joy and pride that a performance or an exhibition can bring”.

Culture secretary Michelle Donelan echoed this and claimed that the additional funding into the south west’s cultural institutions “will help improve access to the arts for people where they live”.

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