Agenda item

Arts & Cultural Strategy Update


The Committee were presented with the Arts & Cultural Strategy Update.  The update was an information paper reflecting the work of the Arts and Culture team in 22/23 and

outlined the plans and aspirations for 23/24.

The Cultural Manager referred Members to the action plan attached to the main report which outlined the key priorities for the delivery of art and culture to the community.  She reminded the Committee that the key priorities were:


·         Delivering a cultural and creative community

·         Supporting and developing artists and creatives

·         Establishing a vibrant and aspirational arts and cultural events programme

·         Enhancing and promoting our assets and heritage

·         Developing our children and young people creatively


The Cultural Manager updated the Committee on the achievements of the Arts & Cultural team within the last year, informing Members that all priority areas set in the strategy had been delivered.  Some of the key achievements highlighted were:


·         The opening of St George’s Arts Centre with a full programme of events from community hires to national touring exhibitions. This had been the biggest achievement of the past year with the centre attracting over 12000 visitors in its first year of opening.  It was noted that there had been an additional one thousand visitor over the past weekend due to the Festival of Light.


·         During 2022 the community engagement through performances, workshops and exhibitions had brought in strong audiences, with workshops averaging a maximum capacity of 10 for 42 workshops in the year to date.


·         Regular hire bookings in St George’s Art Centre had been secured including Reeves Café in Unit 20 and regular bookings from KAB and Involve Kent.


·         Match funding of projects at £16300 had resulted in funding coming into the borough of £143402 for a variety of projects.  This funding from other sources had enabled music tuition for preschool age children, multiple artist residencies and immersive theatre.


·         The 2022 Art and culture events programme supported the Gravesham Fringe Festival, which brought over 5000 visitors into local venues for over 40 events for 10 days in June.


The Cultural Manager informed Members that due to the reduced budget for 2023/24 the Arts and Culture team would look to push for more match funding and work with partners.   The team would look to deliver on the key priorities identified in the strategy in the most efficient way for both Council and community.


The Cultural Manager informed Members that when delivering on the strategy priorities, some of the key areas the Art and Culture team would focus on in 2023 would be:


·         Partnership work

·         Increasing Match Funding Bids

·         To apply for both the Fringe Festival and Light Festival again

·         Work with more music artists

·         Explore other creative spaces through work with partners.

·         To continue to work with education partners.


The Chair thanked the Cultural Manager for her report and commended the Art and Culture team for the vast amount of work that went into organising the events.


The Chair invited the Committee to ask questions or to make comment.


Members agreed the Light Festival had been a magical event and that the footfall within St George’s Art Centre’s first year of opening was quite an achievement.  Praise was given regarding the children’s workshops and the facility to host children’s parties with afternoon tea, as this was another way to spread the word of what the centre had to offer.


The Chair concluded and agreed that the footfall of 12000 to St George’s Art Centre within its first year was to be commended.  He also acknowledged that an additional 1000 visitors to the centre over the past weekend had been fantastic.  The Chair praised the Light Festival event and highlighted that such events had a positive effect on the local economy and supported jobs in the community.  He stressed the importance of Match Funding and working partnerships.


The Committee noted the report.


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