Darren Henley, Chief Executive of Arts Council England visited Lincolnshire last week for an event exploring the case for investment in arts and culture in rural areas. Cultivating Our Future in Common celebrated the successes of North Kesteven’s arts service artsNK, and the Transported Creative People and Places Project in Boston and South Holland, whilst exploring the need to identify new forms of investment for rural arts and culture in challenging times when budgets are often tight.
A day of meetings, which included representatives from North Kesteven, Boston Borough and South Holland District Councils, as well as business leaders in the area culminated with an evening reception at St Botolph’s church in Boston. The reception showcased some of the achievements of artsNK and Transported, with displays and performances from artists, local community and voluntary arts groups and participants from some of artsNK’s and Transported’s projects.
Attendees were treated to an aerial dance performance by participants from artsNK’s/Transported’s classes in Boston and South Holland against the beautiful backdrop of the inside of the Stump, a demonstration from their Spalding Dance & Disability class, and a performance of the Mayflower Pilgrims song by Bassetlaw Choir. The song was commissioned by Transported for Boston’s annual Illuminate festival, written by musician Jo Freya, and has been adopted by neighbouring Illuminate locations.. Displays from community groups included mosaics from Sleaford based group MosArt, weavings made by Boston residents as part of an arts and health project, and hand crafted glass lanterns from Reflections stained glass group. There was also artwork on display from artists including William Lindley, Adelaide Carneiro and David Mackie. Artist Anthony Greentree captured all the day’s events in a ‘living mural’.
Outside of the church were lorries from Transported’s art on lorries project in partnership with FreshLinc and Boston Borough Council, featuring wraps designed by artists Electric Egg and Sarah Brown respectively. These moveable canvases celebrate the local area and what makes it special – a recurrent theme of the Transported programme as a whole.
Darren Henley bought the day to a close with a short speech sharing some of the outcomes of the day’s meetings, outlining the potential for new forms of partnership working and collaboration to help open up opportunities for ambitious art to be bought to the three districts
Nick Jones, Visual Arts Manager at artsNK and Director at Transported commented:
“There was something very special about residents and project participants from the three areas having their work and creativity recognised and applauded by the Chief Executive of the arts council.”