£2m arts and culture funding secured for Blackburn with Darwen

£2m arts and culture funding secured for Blackburn with Darwen

The leader of Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council has today welcomed a £2m boost for the boroughs arts, culture and creative industries.

Arts Council England announced the funding allocation for its prestigious National Portfolio Organisations today, with Blackburn Museum and Art Gallery, National Festival of Making, British Textile Biennial and Culturapedia each receiving an allocation of the overall total.

The borough’s four organisations have been granted the cash after applying for an exclusive three-year funding investment programme, from 2023 – 2026, with the total amount awarded being £2,004,000.

These investments come off the back of sustained partnership work and strategic decision-making with the aim of cultivating a more vibrant, thriving arts scene across Blackburn with Darwen.

Councillor Phil Riley, Leader of Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council, said:

“This is such fantastic and welcome news for Blackburn with Darwen.

The Council embarked on a programme of developing the creative arts offering within the town some years ago, and we are incredibly proud to have multiple world-class arts organisations now call our borough their home. To have this important and sustained partnership work acknowledged and invested in by the Arts Council is just brilliant.

The programmes delivered by these organisations not only shines a spotlight on our town’s distinctive creative energy and making heritage, it also brings residents together in a unique way, creating long-term cultural impact within our communities.

To now have a total of five National Portfolio Organisations within our borough, with these four joining Super Slow Way, is a very impressive figure, which further demonstrates Blackburn with Darwen as a culturally thriving town worthy of significant national recognition”.

Blackburn Museum and Art Gallery has been long established within the borough, integral to providing year-round arts and heritage activity for residents of the borough and beyond. The Museum works closely with local schools, charities and stakeholders to develop a distinctive and relevant programme that ensure everyone has access to free and high-quality cultural events on their doorstep.

The next three years of funding, amounting to £440,000, will allow Blackburn Museum and Art Gallery to reshape its narrative in conjunction with local audiences, asking how it can be a more inclusive and relevant space that reflects the changes in society around it whilst still respecting the heritage it holds.

Arts and Heritage Manager for Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council, Rebecca Johnson, said:

“As one of the first purpose-built museums outside of London in 1874, Blackburn Museum and Art Gallery’s aim was to bring culture to the people of the borough.

As we reach our 150th Birthday, we are absolutely thrilled to be able to grow our activities and outstanding collections in partnership with our local communities by becoming part of Arts Council England’s National Portfolio.

We will continue to tell the story and history of the borough, and indeed begin shaping our future, through collaborative work across Blackburn with Darwen”.

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