Arts Council England awards £380,506 to The Box in latest capital funding round
The Box, Plymouth is celebrating a new grant award of £380,506 from Arts Council’s England’s (ACE) Capital: Small Grants fund.
The programme supports building improvements for arts and cultural organisations – helping them create enhanced spaces to produce and present their work, collaborate with artists and audiences and build their resilience and sustainability.
The funding for The Box will support the installation of Bluetooth lighting fixtures in all its galleries, a flexible lighting system in one of its exhibition spaces and the fit-out of an extended kitchen and bistro bar so it can provide an evening meal and drinks offer to both the public and corporate hire clients.
The funding is part of an £12m investment across the UK revealed by ACE this week. The overall award will see more than £1.7 million invested in the South West and also includes a £270,000 grant to Plymouth’s KARST gallery for an eco-efficient heating system and a fully accessible main entrance.
The improvements to both The Box and KARST’s infrastructure come as Plymouth’s visual arts scene continues to flourish and as the city starts its preparations for hosting British Art Show 9 in autumn 2021.
Councillor Tudor Evans, Leader said: “I’m blown away by this news of yet more funding support for The Box from ACE, who really seem to understand how hard we’re working to create a leading heritage and cultural attraction for the city, the region and beyond.
“The improvements this funding will enable will increase the high design quality of the building and enrich the gallery experience for everyone who visits and works with us. It will also enhance The Box’s long-term financial viability through additional catering and venue hire opportunities. What great news!”
Much of the lighting and fit out works will be completed by spring 2020 in time for the opening of The Box. Some additional lighting improvements will then be made in the summer of 2021 before British Art Show 9 is installed.
Phil Gibby, Area Director, South West, Arts Council England, said: “We are extremely pleased to invest in The Box through our Capital Grants funding programme. We are looking forward to next year’s Mayflower 400 commemorations when The Box will open as the flagship venue for Plymouth and beyond. This building project will support St Luke Church’s role as a prominent visual arts gallery for visitors in 2020 and for many generations to come.
“We’ve also announced an award to the city’s independent art gallery, KARST, which will equip them with the necessary infrastructure to become a key British Art Show 9 venue – yet another contribution to Plymouth’s growing cultural reputation.”
Arts Council England (ACE) is the national development body for arts and culture across England, working to enrich people’s lives. It supports a range of activities across the arts, museums and libraries – from theatre to visual art, reading to dance, music to literature, and crafts to collections. Great art and culture inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves and the world around us. In short, it makes life better. Between 2018 and 2022, ACE will invest £1.45 billion of public money from government and an estimated £860 million from the National Lottery to help create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country.