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Burnley arts projects to get £80k
10:29am Monday 23rd September 2013 in News
A NEW £80,000 grant for arts projects in Burnley will help the town complete an ‘astonishing’ turnaround, said MP Gordon Birtwistle.
Burnley was one of five towns named by the Government on Friday to receive a share of £400,000 worth of Arts Council funding, after being chosen for its ‘strong record’ in local arts projects.
The cash will help increase participation in the arts, from getting theatre touring companies to visit the town, to organising artist residencies and making better use of public display spaces.
Last month the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills also named Burnley as the ‘most enterprising area’ in the UK.
Mr Birtwistle said: “Four years ago we were classed as a basket case and it’s an absolutely astonishing change around that we’ve had.
“We’ve got a very buoyant arts scene in Burnley. My grandson and granddaughter both go along to the Basic Junior Theatre School which is doing brilliantly, and Burnley Mechanics is a great venue for the adults.
“The Singing Ringing Tree sculpture was ridiculed when it was built but now it’s an icon of Burnley and people come from all over the country to see it.
“There’s also the GateWay sculpture which has won a top award, so we are getting away from the dowdy past and into the modern era.”
Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, and Thurrock have also been handed initial grants of £40,000, with councils, as well as arts, cultural, voluntary and community groups able to bid for the funding. If successful the figure will be doubled.
Alan Davey, chief executive of the Arts Council England, said: “Now more than ever, there is a strong need to support grass-roots arts initiatives and projects that will bring our communities closer together.
“With economic and population growth in our cities and towns, there is a role for arts and culture to play in creating community cohesion, instilling civic pride and reimagining our public spaces.”
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