How the arts provided a vital lifeline for so many
ARTS Council England chief Darren Henley has praised the “incredible resilience” of those working in the arts to ensure the nation did not become the “cultural wasteland” many doom- mongers predicted.
He also believes “creativity, artists and cultural organisations will be right at the heart of helping the country to rebuild when we start to recover from the pandemic”.
Darren, a big supporter of the Daily Express Raise The Curtain campaign to ensure theatres survive the pandemic, said: “While 2020 has been a year filled with pain and worry for many people, there has been hope, too.
“Many of our theatres, music venues, galleries, museums and libraries have had to temporarily close their doors.
“But thanks to the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund, £ 1billion has provided a lifeline to over 3,000 arts, cultural and heritage organisations.
“The people who, in normal times, make the work that fills these cultural buildings, have still been busy. Artists, performers and cultural organisations have used their creative powers to bring communities together in new ways.”
“The brilliance of our creative industries is one of the reasons why the UK is so widely respected on the international stage.
“And it’s why, at Arts Council England, we believe that creativity, artists and cultural organisations will be right at the heart of helping the country to rebuild when we start to recover from the pandemic.”
The former head of Classic FM, who joined Arts Council England in 2015, also chose 10 of his favourite cultural highlights to have emerged during the pandemic ( see below).
He added: “Drama, dance, music and art all have the power to fire our imaginations, to enable us to see new possibilities, and to help us feel happy. Amazing cultural activities happen every day in villages, towns and cities all over the country.
“In a year of devastation and desperation, culture helped us get through.”
Darren said that never in his lifetime has culture’s power to uplift and entertain been so vital. He added: “Culture and creativity have made tangible differences to all of our lives this year… and the thing that has inspired me most profoundly in 2020 has been the endeavour by artists and cultural organisations, at the most difficult of moments and in the hardest of circumstances, to meet it.
“Everywhere, cultural organisations provided the solace and sustenance that the public passionately needed. In a year of devastation and desperation, culture helped us get through.”