Following the cabinet decision in June 2017 to approve the Cultural Investment Programme, recommendations for two of Bristol City Council’s main arts and culture grants have been published, proposing a 57% increase in the number of organisations* that could benefit from funding.
The recommendations relate to the council’s ‘Openness’ and ‘Imagination’ cultural funds that are aimed at supporting the work of the local arts and culture sector within Bristol’s communities and in providing inclusive, accessible cultural activities which benefit the city’s economy.
Proposals due to be discussed and decided on as part of the 4 December Cabinet meeting recommend that 33 organisations share a total of £727,000 of funding a year as follows: funding awards from the ‘Openness’ fund are for four years and those awarded from the ‘Imagination’ fund are for two years.
Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol said: “I am grateful for the thorough work of officers and a cross-party and independent panel in making these recommendations for Cabinet to consider. We will be looking closely at the details before making any decision about where to award this important funding.
“The council has a long history of supporting Bristol’s arts and culture sector which in turn is a big factor in the city’s global reputation, its economy and in providing opportunities for individuals and communities. This makes the process of deciding where to award the funding very important to us and the sector.
“We face tough financial challenges that means budgets across the council are being reviewed. The reduction in the council’s cultural funds is evidence of this and is part of making sure we can provide essential services whilst continuing to invest in our ambitions for the city. Before awarding this remaining funding Cabinet will need to be assured that the recommendations do the best possible job of making arts and culture accessible to all whilst developing our global reputation as a leading cultural city.
“We must be sure that the economic, social and educational benefits of arts and culture are shared across all of Bristol’s communities and this is a collective responsibility across the whole city. The recently endorsed Cultural Strategy has this as one of its main aims and we remain committed to working with partners through the cultural steering group to achieve it. Working in collaboration with the steering group and organisations such as Arts Council England we will continue to be passionate advocates for Bristol’s cultural sector and support others to identify funding opportunities they can realise.”
The council’s Cultural Investment Programme was introduced in June 2017 to align the council’s cultural funding activity with the newly endorsed citywide Cultural Strategy. The three investment streams replaced the Key Arts Provider, Creative Seed and Community Festivals funds that between them provided just over £1m of funding in 2016/17. Alongside the ‘Openness’ and ‘Imagination’ funds to be decided on at Cabinet on 4 December a third fund, ‘Originators’, has recently closed for applications with recommendations for the distribution of £98,000 due to be made in early 2018.
A full list of the organisations recommended for funding can be found on the council website