Daily Express

How the arts pro­vided a vi­tal lifeline for so many

- By Paul Jeeves Arts · Infectious Diseases · Health Conditions · England · United Kingdom · Arts Council England · Classic FM · Henley-on-Thames

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.”

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 ??  ?? Hen­ley praised na­tion’s cre­ativ­ity. Right, Corinne Frost plays cello piece in­spired by Luke Jer­ram’s In Memo­riam
Hen­ley praised na­tion’s cre­ativ­ity. Right, Corinne Frost plays cello piece in­spired by Luke Jer­ram’s In Memo­riam

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