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    A New Strategy for Contemporary Visual Arts

    Date: 4 Jul 2006 | | Views: 6767


    Kaffe Matthews, Droptime, Art at the Centre, Reading, Kaffe Matthews, 2002
    LONDON, ENGLAND - Arts Council England has announced that it will be prioritising the visual arts. Today it launched Turning Point, a ten-year strategy which follows on from a major Arts Council review of the contemporary visual arts. This is the first independent review of the sector ever undertaken in England.

    Over the past fifteen years, there has been a transformation in public perception and enjoyment of contemporary visual art, from painting, sculpture to digital and live art. The Turning Point strategy and the independent review demonstrate the exceptional successes of the visual arts in attracting large and growing participation across the country.

    They also describe a sector at a turning point. The price of that success is a level of activity which is unsustainable without further investment and large areas of the country still have little access to contemporary art. There is a workforce which does not fully reflect the diversity of the country and many are working in poor conditions and receiving scant reward. There is an evident need to develop a new generation of leaders.

    With Turning Point the Arts Council, working with its partners, is taking a broader leadership role for the visual arts. The strategy argues for greater links between contemporary art and the art of the past. It highlights the need for closer partnerships and new regional planning and investment to build on success for the future.

    At the launch of the strategy it was announced that the Arts Council is working with Tate, the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council, and the Contemporary Arts Society to develop the first-ever national online database of contemporary art in public collections in the UK.

    Leading British artists including Anthony Caro, Jeremy Deller, Antony Gormley, Howard Hodgkin, Cornelia Parker, Grayson Perry, Paula Rego and Keith Tyson marked the launch of the strategy by recalling works of art that represented the personal turning point in their careers.

    Peter Hewitt, Chief Executive of Arts Council England, said: "Six years ago we undertook a major review of theatre in this country and successfully introduced a national policy to help ensure its future. Turning Point follows from our review of the visual arts. It is a long-term strategy that commits us to working with our partners to build on the huge public engagement in the contemporary visual arts and help develop a new generation of artists and creative leaders.

    Culture Minister, David Lammy, said: " Arts Council England has taken a strong leadership role in working with its partners to develop a new strategy for the contemporary visual arts. Turning Point, and the substantial review which informed it, demonstrate the success of the visual arts and the steps needed to sustain it. The focus on artists remains key but I welcome too the commitment to building stronger partnerships and to addressing the lack of diversity in the workforce. This is crucial to develop a new generation of leaders for the 21C who can implement this vision. "

    Sir Nicholas Serota, Director, Tate said: "The publication of the Arts Council's strategy for the contemporary visual arts in England, marks an important turning point in the development of the visual arts in this country and we welcome the fact that the Arts Council has decided to prioritise the visual arts for the first time in this way. Public interest in all aspects of visual culture has never been higher and the contemporary visual arts are one of Britain's great success stories.

    Chris Batt, Chief Executive, Museums, Libraries and Archives Council
    said: MLA is working with Arts Council England on our joint initiatives to develop wider participation, professional expertise and collections for the future. Turning Point, the Arts Council's new strategy for the contemporary visual arts, gives welcome new support for our Renaissance in the Regions programme. Working together we can build on investment to realise the full potential of current - and new - resources for the benefit of audiences and artists.


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