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£2.5 million for arts projects in Boston area

A three-year arts project for Boston and South Holland has won a £2.5 million grant from the Arts Council.

The South Holland and Boston Creative People and Places Arts Consortium made the bid to take art of all forms out to the community and into often isolated rural areas where access can be limited.

Cllr Yvonne Gunter, Boston Borough Council's portfolio holder for leisure services, said: "The successful bid, and the grant we have received, is a fantastic achievement. For Boston it represents a great chance to expand the arts and the range of opportunities."

She urged all involved in the arts locally, in whatever form, to embrace the opportunities which will now become available.

"This shows we already have a talented group with a real understanding of the arts to work alongside, together with our partners," she said.

An exciting and innovative programme has been developed by local representatives from the Lincolnshire Artist Forum, the Community Volunteer Service for the area and artsNK, North Kesteven District Council's Arts Development Team.

Elaine Knight, artsNK Performing Arts Manager, said: "This grant aid is great news, but for us it's just a beginning.  The works starts now to make sure it's invested wisely and the things we start are sustained, making a positive impact upon people's lives for years to come."

She said all suggestions will be welcome when consultation begins and will help shape a business plan to take the projects forward.

The programme has the active support of Boston Borough Council and South Holland District Council, along with numerous other Lincolnshire-based organisations and private sector partners. The consortium will now be looking to strengthen those connections and develop new ones. 

The three-year programme, called Transported, will aim to take art to the villages and estates of South Lincolnshire and much further afield.  Equipment and training will be transported to artists to inspire new, ambitious projects. 

There will be consultation with local people, producing unique arts events and opportunities that will see the area developing a leading role in the arts regionally and nationally.

The project will be built on partnerships, taking advantage of this area's position at the centre of the food production and processing industries, especially the haulage industry, transporting art across Europe on the sides of lorries.

Talks have already begun about large-scale photographic commissions on vehicles that criss-cross Europe, connecting our local work force with the places and cultures the lorries travel to. 

Gillian Wing, Transported steering group artist, said: "What makes this scheme different from previous initiatives is that it is artist led, meaning more inventive, quality performances at established venues as well as new spaces, including libraries, empty shops and even on the high street.

"The first phase will involve working with local residents and artists across the area to develop plans and we hope everyone will help us by joining in."

Peter Knott, Director, Arts Council England, said: "We were impressed by the innovative and engaging vision of this project. They plan to give communities a voice in a very imaginative way. The range of artistic opportunities they are suggesting shows they have a real understanding of getting great art to people who otherwise might not think to take part."

He said Boston and South Holland are areas of low engagement with the arts and this scheme is designed to address that issue.