Liverpool’s giant event has received a major financial boost thanks to a unique grant from Arts Council England.
The Exceptional Awards allow the Arts Council to champion significant one-off events that don’t fit into their existing funding programmes. In turn, the awards help organisations create a project that is of such ambition and scale that it sits outside their normal programme of activity.
Liverpool City Council applied for the grant to contribute towards Memories of August 1914 as it met all the criteria when it came to the scale of the event, bringing art to a huge number of the people and the fact it is of national importance as the city will be the UK focus of 2014’s World War One centenary commemorations.
The city council has received the maximum funding possible – £250,000 – and it is the first time the Arts Council have awarded this amount as part of the ‘Exceptional’ programme.
In their feedback, they said they felt that not only does Memories of August 1914 provide exceptional opportunities for people to engage with the arts, but it also has the exceptional quality which in turn has secured an Exceptional Award from Arts Council England.
Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, said: “We’re delighted with this financial support from the Arts Council. It represents a real seal of approval for the importance of the event and the impact it will have on the hundreds and thousands of people who will experience it this summer.
“As well as being a visually stunning spectacle, this event will bring to life a time in history which changed our world forever. It’s wonderful the Arts Council understand the importance of staging ambitious street theatre of this kind and are willing to support it.
“Memories is really gathering momentum and it’s great to see the private and public sector working together to make sure that in these financially difficult times we can continue to produce inspirational cultural activities which not only bring in millions to our local economy but also create a sense of pride and belonging in this city.”
The announcement comes just days after local firm John Sutch Cranes were named as the first official sponsors for the giant spectacular.
Sarah Maxfield, Area Director North, Arts Council England, said: ‘The Exceptional Awards programme provides us with a unique opportunity to recognise truly remarkable ideas of national, or even international, importance; rewarding innovation and ambition in arts and culture. I’m delighted that the Arts Council is able to support a project of the scale and ambition of Memories of August 1914, which is set to engage and inspire audiences as they follow the giants around the city.”
It is expected that ACE will make less than 25 Exceptional awards before the end of the programme in March 2015. All bids submitted to the Exceptional programme had to contribute to their five goals:
• Celebrating excellence in the arts, museums and libraries
• Giving everyone the opportunity to experience and be inspired by the arts
• Being resilient and environmentally sustainable
• Supporting Diversity in leadership and workforce
• Giving every child and young person opportunity to experience the richness of the arts
Memories of August 1914 is co-commissioned by Liverpool City Council and 14-18 NOW as part of the UK’s commemorations of the centenary of the First World War.
Funding for Memories of August 1914 is still being finalised, but support is already in place from central government (Department of Culture, Media and Sport) and the European Regional Development Fund.
Negotiations are currently on-going with Arts Council England and partners and sponsors from the private sector to help bring the event to the city.