ACE awards £2m to city arts projects

MK Gallery and Sheffield Culture Consortium among beneficiaries
Jonathan Knott
Arts Council England (ACE) has awarded a total of £2m to three city-based arts projects as part of its Ambition for Excellence programme.

The £35m fund, of which the arts council aims to spend at least £28m outside London, is used to “develop talent and leadership, help build cultural capacity and support work of increased ambition across the country”.

MK Gallery received £750,000 for its City Club project, which will form part of Milton Keynes’ 50th birthday celebrations.

City Club will involve a number of other cultural organisations including Bletchley Park and music venue The Stables. It will include public art commissions, live events, digital projects, talks, workshops and engagement programmes.

The activities are intended to provide opportunities for local artists, strengthen the network of arts organisations across Milton Keynes, and create new cultural spaces, in preparation for a bid to become European Capital of Culture for 2023.

Another beneficiary is Sheffield Culture Consortium, a group comprised of chief executives of cultural organisations across the city, including representatives of Museums Sheffield, Sheffield Industrial Museums Trust, and Site Gallery. The group was awarded £500,000 for Making Ways, a three year programme that will seek to develop and celebrate contemporary visual art produced in Sheffield.

Artichoke, an organisation that stages arts spectacles and live events in London, will receive £750,000 for its London’s Burning project, which will form part of 350th anniversary commemorations of the Great Fire of London later this year. Unemployed young Londoners from boroughs surrounding the City will help design and make a sculptural representation of 17th-century London, which will then be set alight.

Alison Clark, the national director for combined arts at ACE, said that the awards illustrated the power that art and artists can have in celebrating and defining place.

“Although each project is very different in nature, a strong talent development programme sits behind all of the projects ensuring that the legacy of the investment will be a strengthened and more diverse arts workforce,” she said.

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