Arts / Arts Council

Arts Council England announces £1.18 million to support visual arts in Bristol

By steve wright, Thursday Feb 13, 2020

Pictured above: Bedminster artspace Kosar Contemporary

Arts Council England has announced that it will invest £1.18 million to support the progression of visual artists in Bristol and the West of England, through a new National Lottery development fund.

The fund, Supporting Visual Arts Progression in Bristol and the West of England, will support activity that ensures that excellence and opportunity are thriving within the region, through an increase in professional development opportunities for artists and commissioning capacity for the visual arts.

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The £1.18m investment is likely to be awarded to a single collaborative application, via consortia or partnerships. The successful applicant will be broad in reach and will demonstrate support for visual artists at all stages of their career by delivery of a multi-stranded programme between 2020-23.

Central aims of the fund include:
– To establish a strong strategic partnership that will strengthen the visual arts ecology
– To increase the number and quality of commissions for visual artists
– To deliver a place-based programme of professional development for artists, including mentoring, exhibitions, training and networking opportunities
– The programme will help to boost Bristol and the West of England’s position as a place where visual artists are encouraged to build careers with the help of a professional development offer delivered by a partnership of organisations working collaboratively.

The fund responds to a key recommendation made in the 2017 Bristol Visual Arts Review, which addressed the future of the visual arts in Bristol. Led by James Lingwood (co-director of Artangel) and Godfrey Worsdale (director of the Henry Moore Foundation), the review identified a set of priorities to help achieve a long-term step change for visual arts in Bristol and the West of England.

Phil Gibby, Area Director, South West, Arts Council England, said: “We are pleased to announce the details of our new £1.18 million development fund. The Supporting Visual Arts Progression in Bristol and the West of England programme has been designed with the local visual arts ecology in mind, to transform the opportunities in Bristol and beyond.

“This is the best opportunity we’ve had to direct a substantial amount of investment towards the development of the visual arts in the city. This development fund will help Arts Council to deliver our strategic vision, as set out in Let’s Create 2020-30 and will help to ensure England’s cultural sector is innovative, collaborative and international by backing organisations and creative practitioners to excel at what they do.”

For more information, guidance and full eligibility criteria on the fund, visit

Read more: New Arts Council investment for Arnolfini

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