Lancaster Cultural Vision

1 October 2013

Plans for Lancaster district to achieve international recognition for culture and the arts by 2020 have just been launched.

The new seven year framework for the arts in the Lancaster district, entitled 20:20 Vision, has been agreed by Lancaster City Council, Lancashire County Council and Lancaster Arts Partners in consultation with the local arts community.

It was launched recently at The Hothouse, the home of More Music, a community music and education charity, currently celebrating its 20th anniversary.

The framework wants to see the Lancaster district recognised as a beacon for the arts, creating a significant step change in the city’s offer as a visitor destination, place to learn and quality area to live and work.

It also aims to see Morecambe develop into an arts and festival town and to encourage young people to remain in the district because of its arts and culture, whether they were born in the area or arrived as students.

Sue Flowers, chair of Lancaster Arts Partners, said: “The Lancaster district has always had a unique and excellent arts offer. This new vision framework for the arts is of real strategic importance as not only will it contribute to the wider cultural tourism offer and economic development of the district but it will also have a significant  knock-on cultural benefit across Lancashire and the North West.

It is wonderful to have evolved a collective framework which we can all buy into and to see how developing that provision will make a real difference to people’s lives now and in the future.”

Among the plans included in the 20:20 Vision Framework are:

*Increasing the number of arts events including a significant free outdoor event aimed to attract a total of 100,000 people

*Adding quality through the arts to major developments in Lancaster such as the re-opening of Lancaster Castle, the Square Routes project and the plans to develop the Canal Corridor

*Supporting and nurturing career development and work opportunities for young people

*Creating 60 new commissions annually

*Hosting at least 20 internationally renowned artists to arts, education and civic institutions

*Producing 10 additional projects for children and young people each year and at least one major youth arts festival

*Encouraging investment in the arts by health, education, social services and local authorities to increase annually by 5%

*Re-instigating Lancaster Design Awards

*Commissioning 20 new works with a digital dimension annually

Lancaster City Council Cabinet member with responsibility for economic regeneration, Coun Janice Hanson said: “Lancaster City Council recognises the role arts and culture have in creating and maintaining a sense of pride in the district and beyond. Our recently developed Cultural Heritage Strategy also demonstrates the council’s commitment to preserving the district’s cultural assets and this arts framework sits alongside the frameworks for the development of tourism, retail and food and drink.”

County Coun Marcus Johnstone, cabinet member for environment, planning and cultural services, said: "In the current financial climate it's more important than ever for local authorities and voluntary organisations to work together.

"Local arts and culture should be as attractive as possible to visitors as well as local people, and this is exactly what the ambitious 20:20 Vision strategy aims to achieve for the Lancaster district.

"A shared vision and sense of direction for the arts will help to enhance the image of the area not only as a vibrant place live to but also as a great place to visit."

Editor’s Notes

Lancaster district has the highest level of engagement in the arts in Lancashire with three theatres, 53 music venues, 20 art galleries, 10 venues for visiting and open mike comedy acts, and three cinemas.

Five hundred 16-18-year-olds in the district are on arts courses at local colleges and the area’s two universities attract students nationally and from overseas to their arts courses.

The work of more than 600 organisations, companies and individuals involves arts associated activities.

Several significant investors currently supply strategic investment in the local arts sector, namely Arts Council England, Lancaster City Council, Lancashire County Council and Lancaster University.

There is developing interest from individuals and corporations interested in sponsoring work such as those in the retail and catering trade.

Those involved with drawing up 20:20 Vision were inspired by arts and cultural activity in Dundee, Exeter, Newcastle/Gateshead, Folkestone, Chester, Liverpool, Cumbria, particularly the South Lakes; and Utrecht, Holland.

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