Visual arts programme awarded £635,000 by Arts Council England

A major two-year programme which aims to further enhance Plymouth’s visual arts scene has been awarded £635,000 from Arts Council England’s Ambition for Excellence funding programme.

Starting in November 2016, the Horizon programme will develop four major arts events in the city, support a talent development programme for artists and visual arts producers, and enable communities to commission visual artworks.

The events to feature within the ambitious programme include: ‘Three Towns’, a cross-city art exhibition working with communities in Stonehouse and Devonport (2017); the ‘Atlantic Project’, a major international public art festival (2018); and two editions of the ‘Plymouth Art Weekender’ festival (2017 and 2018).

Led by Plymouth Culture with support from Plymouth University, Horizon is a collaborative programme developed in partnership with Plymouth College of Art, Plymouth Arts Centre, KARST, Plymouth City Council and Visual Arts Plymouth.

Dom Jinks, Director of Plymouth Culture said:

“Horizon will be a game-changing programme of activity for Plymouth, placing the city firmly as a leading cultural destination and developing major international festival expertise in the lead up to Mayflower 400 and the opening of the £34 million History Centre in 2020. Not only this, Horizon will develop the skills of artists in the city as well as enabling communities to participate in and commission high-quality visual arts. Alongside Arts Council England, we would like to thank Plymouth University for their total support of Horizon, allowing this ground-breaking project to happen and further enhancing their supportive reputation to the cultural growth of Plymouth.”

Professor Dafydd Moore, Executive Dean of Arts and Humanities at Plymouth University, said:

“Plymouth has always been an impressive destination, but the investment in art and culture over recent years is taking that to new heights. As a university, we have always recognised that partnerships with local organisations and our students have an important role to play in increasing the city’s cultural profile. This is the latest collaborative initiative supporting Plymouth’s visual arts scene that the University has played an important role in bringing to fruition, and we are looking forward to continuing our work with the partners to make it a real success for the city and region.”

Andrew Brewerton, Principal and Chief Executive of Plymouth College of Art, said:

“It’s more than evident that Plymouth is fast developing as a South West regional centre for the contemporary visual arts. There’s a rich and emerging diversity of independent practice across the city which has strong synergy with purposeful large-scale institutional and public investment in developments such as the History Centre, The Red House, and the emerging national profile of innovative arts education in Plymouth. Our collective delight in Arts Council England’s support for our Horizon project through Ambition for Excellence funding is with the prospect of building further on Plymouth's previous form with British Art Show 7 and other multi-venue collaborative projects, and the making new work in the visual arts. We are creating a city-wide visual arts partnership in the build-up to Plymouth's Mayflower400 celebration in 2020.”
Councillor Glenn Jordan, Cabinet Member for Culture at Plymouth City Council, said:

“This is fantastic news. Plymouth is making waves in the world of arts and culture and it is doing this in a way that involves people of all ages and from all walks of life across the whole city. Our flourishing arts and cultural sector is so important to the city’s economy and to the life of the people who live here. We’re delighted to make a clear commitment towards this incredible programme of events and opportunities. This programme will help us continue important work which brings people together, celebrates life in Plymouth and makes it an even better to place to live as well as visit. I can’t wait to see what amazing events and exhibitions will happen as a result.”

Horizon will be part-funded by Art Council England’s ‘Ambition for Excellence’ fund which aims to:

  • Contribute to the development of strong cultural places;
  • Grow and develop talent and leadership in the regions and across art forms;
  • Give an international dimension to excellent work;
  • Create the highest quality new work, including for outdoor and festival contexts.

Arts Council England expects that 80-90 per cent of this fund will be committed outside London, to support their target that a minimum of 75 per cent of Lottery funding is committed outside the capital by 2018.