The opportunities and potential of Wolverhampton’s arts and culture sector have been recognised by Arts Council England.
The city has been named as a Priority Place as part of Arts Council England’s three-year Delivery Plan for 2021-2024.
It sets out a detailed roadmap to implement the vision of their strategy Let's Create: by 2030 England will be a country in which the creativity of each individual is valued and given the chance to flourish, and where everyone has access to a remarkable range of high-quality cultural experiences. The Delivery Plan highlights where there are opportunities for investment, collaboration and progress.
The publication of the Delivery Plan follows the Government’s £1.96 billion Culture Recovery Fund, administered by the Arts Council and other bodies, helping organisations in the cultural sector prepare for reopening.
The City of Wolverhampton has been selected as one of 54 Priority Places across England which means organisations will work together with Arts Council England and give more people the opportunity to enjoy excellent cultural experiences across the city.
Wolverhampton is an area with significant opportunities for art and creativity to thrive including a rich industrial heritage and a network of outdoor spaces from canals and parks to internationally recognised geological sites. The city is known for its rich culture, with the largest collection of Pop Art outside of London at Wolverhampton Art Gallery, world stage productions at the Grand Theatre, local artist support at Newhampton Arts Centre, independent studios such as Asylum Art Studios, historical houses like Bantock House Museum and Wightwick Manger, all of which offer a lively and diverse programme for residents and visitors.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, Wolverhampton, along with its neighbouring authorities in the Black Country has received £8,157,127 from the Arts Council through the Government’s Cultural Recovery Fund. Together with this investment, being a priority place will boost the growth of local opportunities for arts and culture through partnership and collaboration.
City of Wolverhampton Council Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for City Economy, Councillor Stephen Simkins, said, “I am delighted that Arts Council England has recognised Wolverhampton’s thriving arts and culture sector and the huge potential it has to grow through further investment.
“Culture forms a key part of our Covid recovery plans and Wolverhampton Art Gallery is already undergoing building improvements to ensure it remains a major attraction and provides new opportunities as part of our city’s five-year plan to bring the very best art, music and sport to Wolverhampton to boost the city’s economy, create new jobs, give visitors an experience to remember and build an outstanding cultural reputation.
“This support from Arts Council England’s Let’s Create strategy will enable city partners to develop new ideas and the creative talent of our residents to flourish as we work towards our ambition of becoming the next City of Culture.
“One of the first events the new-look Wolverhampton Art Gallery will welcome is the prestigious British Art Show 9 in January 2022 – kicking-off a bumper year of major events in the city, including the Commonwealth Games cycling time trial, Creation Day Festival in West Park, Wolverhampton Literature Festival and big-name gigs at the newly refurbished Civic Halls.”
Chief Executive, Arts Council England, Darren Henley, said, “Artists, arts organisations, museums and libraries have found creative new ways to serve their audiences and communities since the start of the pandemic. Our new Delivery Plan shows how we’ll work with them to build on that spirit of imagination and innovation as our society reopens. It’s particularly exciting to be focusing on our 54 priority places over the coming years. We’re looking forward to nurturing dynamic new partnerships with local people and organisations in each of these locations.”
Peter Knott, Midlands Area Director, Arts Council England said, “Creativity brings people together, supports local economies and helps to improve lives – and we know investing in culture makes people happy and proud of the place they live.
“Arts and culture are an important part of every community, and as part of the Delivery Plan we’re pleased to be announcing these six places in the West Midlands, where we look forward to building our support for the cultural and creative sector over the coming years.”
Wolverhampton has been chosen through a set of criteria based on a review of current public investment and opportunities to engage with creative and cultural activity. Each of the Priority Places are ambitious to drive positive change through culture.