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Multi-million Arts Boost in Culture City

From liverpool08….

Multi-million arts boost in culture city
Liverpool is planning a £12m boost to arts and cultural organisations so they can plan for the European Capital of Culture year in 2008.

The Liverpool Culture Company has proposed a radical new funding package, including a recommendation that arts grants change from an annual to a three-year cycle.

A report outlining grant funding for 27 organisations, highlighted as key to underpinning the delivery of the artistic programme and Capital of Culture calendar, is to go to the city council’s Executive Board on Friday 3 March.

If approved, Liverpool will award grants of £3.6m in 06-07, £3.69m in 07-08 and £3.77m in 08-09.

Over the three years, the Culture Company has also set aside a further £1.2m for arts organisations and community groups to pay for projects that compliment the themed years programme – i.e. Performance in 2006 and Heritage in 2007.

The new package would mark a four-fold annual increase in arts grants since 2000-01, the year the city decided to bid for the 08 crown, when less than £1m was awarded.

On top of grants, the Liverpool Culture Company has also budgeted to invest £16.2m in events and arts in 2008 alone.

The report outlines that the main objective of the new grants package is to ‘maintain, enhance and grow the cultural infrastructure of the city’.

The three-year strategy has the backing of the Arts Council and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, both of which recently pledged a total of £10m to the city’s 08 plans.

Cllr Warren Bradley, Leader of Liverpool City Council, said: “The Liverpool Culture Company cannot deliver the artistic programme for European Capital of Culture 2008 on its own. The city’s arts sector has an important role to play in delivering activity up to and including 2008. This funding enables them to plan ahead and help deliver an outstanding cultural programme.”

As well as funding through grants, the Liverpool Culture Company will also develop partnerships with existing organisations, including collaborations, co-productions, and commissions to deliver the 08 programme.

A review of grant processes carried out by the Community Foundation Merseyside recommended the group of Regularly-Funded Organisations be broadened.

The proposed 27 organisations are:

Africa Oyé
Ariel Trust
Arts in Regeneration
Unity Theatre
Biennial Festival
Bluecoat Arts Centre
Hope Street
Lantern Festival
Liverpool Irish Festival
Liverpool Centre for Arts Development
Liverpool Arabic Arts Festival
Liverpool Comedy Trust
Liverpool Theatres Trust
Merseyside Dance Initiative
NWDAF and DaDaFest
Open Eye Gallery
Pagoda Chinese Youth Orchestra
Positive Impact
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Society
Tate Liverpool
Walk the Plank
Writing On The Wall
Jason Harborow, Chief Operating Officer of the Liverpool Culture Company, said: “These organisations underline the outstanding cultural strength and quality of Liverpool and why we were chosen to represent the UK in 2008. They are central to delivering key aspects of the artistic programme. By providing certainty that their funding is in place leading up to and including 2008, they will be better able to plan delivery in these years.”

The project grants have been devised so that arts organisations can bid for a maximum of £15,000 and a maximum of £5,000 for community groups to allow for participation and creative links to the themed years. This will be distributed via an annual application process based on criteria which will include deliverability, impact and quality.

If approved by the Executive Board, the Liverpool Culture Company will launch the annual projects grants round in the summer.

Professor Drummond Bone, Chairman of the Liverpool Culture Company, said: “A strong and sustainable cultural sector is vital if we are to deliver the best-ever European Capital of Culture in 2008. This new package underlines our commitment to provide arts organisations and the people of Liverpool opportunities to showcase their talent on a global stage.”