Arts Council’s chief exec talks plans to fund Portsmouth’s ‘creative future’

A Museum at Night event at The Spring, Havant. Picture: James White
A Museum at Night event at The Spring, Havant. Picture: James White
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Arts Council England has spoken about how its spending plans for the next four years will benefit Portsmouth’s cultural scene.

The national development agency for arts and culture has announced that its investments in the city will be almost trebling to £1.45million.

The chief exec of the Arts Council, Darren Henley, says that the plans are part of a ‘commitment to spend significantly more of our money outside London’.

Mr Henley added: ‘These days, most people recognise that a thriving cultural scene is crucial to how a city grows.

‘It creates jobs, brings in tourists, helps build a strong community and feeds the hopes and aspirations of our children and young people.

‘I’m delighted that in our latest investment round we are helping to put culture at the heart of Portsmouth’s social and economic ambitions.

‘There is a truly creative spark in Portsmouth, a continuation of its history of technology and manufacturing.’

Among the beneficiaries of this funding increase is New Theatre Royal, which Mr Henley says is an ‘important member’ of the council’s national portfolio for 2018-2022 – the collection of leading arts and culture organisations in the UK.

He said: ‘Our increase in funding for the New Theatre Royal recognises that this venue makes a dynamic contribution to the cultural, educational, economic and social life of the city.’

Investments in Aspex Visual Arts Trust will continue for its work in ‘supporting emerging artists and delivering an exciting programme of exhibitions and off-site projects’, and The Spring Arts & Heritage Centre in Havant has been added into the national portfolio.

Mr Henley said: ‘We support The Spring’s ambition to be a model of best practice, demonstrating how local heritage can improve everyone’s quality of life.’

Hampshire-wide investments will total £12.8m over the next four years.