Arts’ Council England have announced that Focal Point Gallery will receive £745,536 over four years. Meanwhile, Metal in Southend, will receive £753,837 over four years as a proportion of their overall award, which covers their operations in Liverpool and Peterborough too.
Both Focal Point Gallery and Metal secured the funding through Arts’ Council England’s “National Portfolio programme”, which recognises key cultural venues throughout England.
Since it started its operations in Southend, Metal has most notably delivered the annual festivals Village Green and Village Beach; NetPark, the world’s first digital art park in Chalkwell Park; and the new pan-regional, Estuary Festival.
Meanwhile, Focal Point Gallery has delivered an internationally recognised programme of exhibitions and offsite projects as well as the Radical Essex project, since opening in the town more than twenty five years ago.
Cllr Ann Holland, Executive Councillor for Culture, Tourism and the Economy, welcomed the announcement. She said: “Both Focal Point Gallery and Metal contribute a huge amount to the cultural offer in Southend.
“The funding announced by Arts Council England will mean that both can now build upon their fantastic track record in the borough and add to the town’s overall cultural mix.
“This is vital, not only for local residents, but as a means of continuing to attract the 6m plus visitors a year, which are a hugely important contributor to our local economy.
“That is why we have made the town’s cultural offer a key component of the borough’s Tourism Strategy, which we are currently developing with the Southend Tourism Partnership”.
Joe Hill, Director of Focal Point Gallery, said: “We are delighted that Arts Council England will continue to support the work the gallery does to bring the best of contemporary visual art to Southend and help to build a strong and vibrant cultural community in the region. We hope that the creative programme at the gallery will continue to drive new visitors to South Essex, inspire our local people and help to define cultural perceptions of the region.”
Colette Bailey, Artistic Director of Metal said: “It’s fantastic news that Arts Council England have continued to invest in the cultural life of Southend in this way. We look forward to continuing our work with local, regional, national and international artists working in all disciplines to build ideas and creative projects with people of all ages and from all walks of life across South Essex.”