Arts Council funding recognises vital role of the Plymouth History Centre
Th role of the Plymouth History Centre within the visual arts and museums sectors, both locally and nationally, has been given a massive vote of confidence with Arts Council England's (ACE) National Portfolio Organisation (NPO) funding announcement.
Over a quarter of the £16 million of regular NPO funding that will be pumped into the city from 2018-2022 will go to this ground breaking project, which will create a world class arts and heritage attraction that celebrates Plymouth and its links to the wider world.
The History Centre will receive a total of £4,146,000 over the four-year period, enabling it to stage national and international exhibitions, run a dynamic events and community engagement programme and commission new work by emerging and established artists responding to its collections and archives. This is a significant increase from the £1.51 million that the City Museum and Art Gallery received over the last three years.
Cabinet Member for Culture Glenn Jordan said: “This week’s announcement is so brilliant for the city. It shows the level of faith that national organisations like the Arts Council have in Plymouth, recognises the fantastic things that have been achieved by our cultural organisations in recent years and now gives us an opportunity to continue to raise the bar as we journey towards Mayflower 400 and beyond.”
Plymouth’s visual arts sector has been on an astonishing trajectory since it hosted the ‘British Art Show 7: In the Days of the Comet’ in 2011. This prestigious exhibition which only tours the UK once every 5 years established new partnerships amongst many of the city’s cultural organisations and also benefited from a brilliant fringe programme.
Since then a range of other high profile shows and artists have been brought to the city and ‘Ambition for Excellence’ funding has been secured from ACE to help develop the sector further. The Plymouth Art Weekender has also been established. This three-day celebration of the city’s visual arts takes place in late September and has quickly become the largest event of its kind in the country.
Interim CEO for the Plymouth History Centre Paul Brookes said: “Plymouth has come such a long way in a relatively short space of time and now the future is looking more exciting than ever. Our ambition for the History Centre is to build on this and be the best of the historic and the new – a home for excellence in arts, culture and creativity for Britain’s Ocean City. This massive injection of faith and funding from ACE will enable us to firmly embed visual arts into the fabric of what we do, creating a powerful visitor experience for everyone who engages with us.”
Professor Dafydd Moore, Executive Dean of Arts and Humanities at the University of Plymouth, said: “This is further recognition of the potential impact of the new History Centre, not just regionally but also at a national level. This success, and others like it, has been achieved thanks to forward-thinking cultural partnerships which are changing the outlook and aspirations of the city. The University is proud to be playing a lead role in these developments, and will continue to look for opportunities to enhance and promote Plymouth as an outstanding place for arts education and experiences.”
As part of the journey towards the History Centre a programme of partnership exhibitions with Peninsula Arts began last autumn and will continue after the History Centre opens in spring 2020. The next exhibition is the Plymouth Contemporary, an open submission show that provides a platform for up and coming as well as recognised artists. Work by 41 different practitioners will be on display at Peninsula Arts and KARST from 15 July to 2 September.
Phil Gibby, Area Director, South West, Arts Council England said: “We are extremely excited to be welcoming Plymouth History Centre into the National Portfolio. The major redevelopment of Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery and integration of Plymouth’s other historical collections and archives will position the History Centre as a significant regional centre for visual arts and heritage in the South West.
“Their partnership working with key cultural organisations and educational institutions is an excellent example of collaborative working across the city and the new venue will be a centre for education and training excellence. This investment in the History Centre will support the burgeoning cultural scene in Plymouth and further build the city’s national and international reputation in the run-up to the Mayflower anniversary celebrations in 2020.”
For more information about National Portfolio Organisations visit the ACE website.
Notes for editors:
Plymouth History Centre
The History Centre is a partnership led by Plymouth City Council with the University of Plymouth, the South West Film and Television Archive, the South West Image Bank and the National Museum of the Royal Navy. Major funding for the project has been confirmed from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Arts Council England, Plymouth City Council, the Coastal Communities Fund, the Garfield Weston Foundation, the University of Plymouth and the Wolfson Foundation.
Arts Council England and National Portfolio Organisations
Arts Council England (ACE) awards National Portfolio Organisation (NPO) status to organisations that create excellent cultural work and open up the arts and museums to new audiences in exciting and engaging ways. NPOs receive four years of regular income from ACE to help support organisational running costs and develop new projects, partnerships and initiatives.
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