Arts Council chief visits area

Aerial Performance
Aerial Performance

The head of a Government-backed organisation which invests millions into the arts has visited Sleaford.

The chief executive of the Arts Council, Darren Henley, came to Lincolnshire recently for an event exploring the case for investment in the creative and cultural sector in rural areas.

Dubbed Cultivating Our Future in Common, the day celebrated the success of North Kesteven’s art service artsNK and the Transported Creative People and Places Project in Boston and South Holland. Both artsNK and Transported receive funds from the Arts Council.

Alongside the celebrations, the event aimed to explore the need to identify new forms of investment for rural arts and culture in challenging times when budgets are often tight.

The days featured meetings at North Kesteven District Council’s offices Sleaford, which included representatives from North Kesteven, Boston, and South Holland’s local authorities, as well as business leaders from the area, and culminated with an evening reception at St Botolph’s Church, in Boston.

The reception showcased some of the achievements of artsNK and Transported, with displays and performances from artists, community and voluntary arts groups, and participants from some of arts NK’s and Transported’s projects.

Mr Henley brought the day – a sort of cultural summit for the area – to a close with a speech sharing some of the outcomes of the earlier meetings and discussing how arts can flourish in rural areas in the future, making reference to sustainability and collaboration.

Speaking after the event, he said: “It was great to visit Lincolnshire and see first-hand how our investment in arts and culture connects a place, its people and its history and how that support can rejuvenate communities, inspire civic pride and attract new jobs. There is a real ambition across Lincolnshire to see the county as a thriving cultural destination. There is so much for people to discover and enjoy. As the national development agency for art and culture, it is the Arts Council’s job to help make this a reality.”

And on the subject of collaboration, he said: “Partnerships are vital, and often extend beyond culture and tourism to include other businesses, the local authority, higher education and others, and where these exist great things can happen.”

Nick Jones, visual arts manager at artsNK and director at Transported, said: “There was something very special about residents and project participants from the three areas having their work and creativity recognised and applauded by the chief executive of the Arts Council.”