A £1.5m project that aims to make a former mining community internationally-renowned for its arts and culture could boost the local economy and bring new jobs.
East Durham has won the huge grant from Arts Council England for a project that will provide more opportunities to experience great art and show how investment in culture can help attract thousands of visitors and create sustainable jobs.
Over the past year, hundreds of people in East Durham have backed the project through extensive community consultation, helping to shape the successful bid to the Arts Council’s Creative People and Places fund, designed to empower communities to take the lead in shaping local arts provision.
East Durham is one of 11 areas that have been successful enough to win a share of £18m in funding over the next three years.
The initiative is led by a new and exciting partnership including Beamish Museum, East Durham Trust and London-based arts company Forma Arts and Media.
The consortium has also been supported by Durham County Council’s Arts Team, part of the Culture and Sport Service, and East Durham Area Action Partnership.
Internationally renowned artists will soon be working in East Durham, taking part in an ambitious programme directed by local people.
Inspirational and unforgettable events, exhibitions and festivals are planned.
Major events and festivals are expected to attract thousands of visitors to East Durham over the next three years, making the most of its towns, villages, dramatic landscapes and sweeping coastline to boost the local economy and create jobs.
Partners are also expecting to create apprenticeship and training opportunities for local people working in the cultural and creative industries.
Malcolm Fallow, chief executive of Peterlee-based East Durham Trust, said: “We believe that this provides us with the exciting opportunity to unlock the creative potential of our community and look forward to local people being involved in shaping how this will unfold.”
David Metcalfe, artistic director of Forma Arts and Media, who is London-based but born in Easington, said that having developed ambitious global projects he was looking forward to return to his roots with the remit to be create a lasting creative, innovative legacy.
Councillor Neil Foster, Durham County Council’s cabinet member for regeneration and economic development, said: “This project is exciting as it has central focus on celebrating the creativity of East Durham and enabling people to experience and participate in great art.”
To find out more about the project, visit www.eastdurhamcreates.co.uk.