New cultural project for North Yorkshire market towns granted six-figure funding

An ‘ambitious’ new cultural programme for three towns in North Yorkshire has been awarded national funding of £350k.

The ‘Now Then!’ project, which will bring arts events and activities to the centres of Selby, Tadcaster and Sherburn-in-Elmet, has been given a Place Partnership award from the Arts Council England through the National Lottery.

Led by our culture and archives team and steered by a partnership of community and cultural organisations, the scheme will create joyful, memorable and authentic cultural experiences, to reflect the communities’ needs and aspirations. The two-year project begins in the spring of next year.

On top of the Arts Council England funding, the project is benefitting from cash from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund and North Yorkshire Council’s Cultural Development Fund. Featuring a programme of commissions including artworks and experiences to ‘instil civic pride and help regenerate the towns’, Now Then! will tell the stories of places and people.

Executive member for culture and leisure, Cllr Simon Myers, commented: “This is a very exciting and ambitious cultural and place-shaping project for the county and one that will focus on people’s pride in where they live and the deep roots of the district.

“Visitors will see our towns as places of singular cultural experiences and local people will see where they live through fresh eyes.

“One strand of activities in Selby will be a series of new commissions based in the town’s abbey and its surroundings, spilling out into the marketplace, the park and connecting streets. This new work will be ambitious and accessible, building on the strongest attributes of the abbey and its surroundings. It will be about the people and places of Selby.”

Cllr Myers said the Selby project will include music, dance, writing and performance, as well as visual and digital arts. A new curator will be appointed to help train volunteers, create opportunities for local creatives and commission multiple new artworks, including two large-scale works in the public realm.

In Tadcaster, members of the community arts company, ARCADE, will be working with children and young people to create a programme of new work, predominantly in the town centre. Local communities in Sherburn-in-Elmet will help select creative practitioners they would like to work with to co-devise and deliver activity.

Cllr Myers added: “Now Then! will offer young people enhanced opportunities to work with art practitioners and participate in creative activity, with the aim of developing creative skills, retaining young people and young businesses and inspiring students to progress to Higher Education in creative subjects.”

By Matthew Neville – Senior Correspondent, Bdaily

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