Great work done but need more focus on arts in town
YVETTE Cooper has recently suggested that the Government support the idea of an annual Arts Town award to supplement the City of Culture award.
This would celebrate ideas, innovation and practice in what are often described as post-industrial, middle-sized towns, which have over a period of time faced quite harsh funding restrictions.
Unlike Britain’s cities which have a younger demography and an arts offer that supplements the vibrancy of their pubs, clubs and nightlife, our towns are smaller and more locally accessible and have the potential to enhance the leisure time and quality of life of all people and of all ages.
I am wondering what the views of our local politicians and movers and shakers might be? What do they think of Loughborough’s current offer of arts and culture?
I respect and appreciate the hard work that Charnwood Arts, Loughborough University, Loughborough Art College and others have put into stimulating a local arts offer.
However, Charnwood Arts remit is borough-wide (for the whole of Charnwood) and they have been fighting a defensive action, struggling with ever-diminishing budgets. Wonderful though Loogabarooga, the Mela and Picnic in the Park are!
Loughborough is a proud and significant town, standing centrally between the three cities of Leicester, Nottingham and Derby. We are soon to get 3,000 more homes at Garendon. And yet local people have faced a lessening cultural offer - library reducing, museum struggling, town hall community area under-performing, and the Town Hall programme being, in my view, limited in its range of offer to what it regards as safe activities such as tribute bands, comedians, local amateur dramatics (I would like to recommend Stamford Arts Centre as an good example of what can be offered in a town).
We don’t seem to have a jazz club, nor do we have a folk club. In my view, enjoying the arts is not an elitist or peripheral issue.
The arts are there for everyone. They liberate people’s talent, curiosity and creativity and improve peo- ple’s happiness and well being. And they are a vital cog in the wheel that is the local economy..... people enjoying the arts also visit pubs and restaurants which helps support local economic regeneration.
I am not critical of anyone involved in decision making about or procuring arts and culture activity for Loughborough but I feel, based upon the last 10 years of my life living in Loughborough, that the range on offer is certainly decreasing..... and that is very sad.
I welcome Yvette Cooper’s suggestion and I invite anyone who can to support this initiative and to bat for Loughborough and what it could be.