Grant funding secured for Birmingham ventures

There has been mixed responses to the region’s attempts to secure arts funding. While West Bromwich gallery the Public have failed in their bid to secure Arts Council money, there has been better news for other local bidders.

Birmingham Town Hall, Symphony Hall and Birmingham Jazz have been successful in their application for funding, and have been offered a place in the Arts Council’s National Portfolio. Funding has been granted for a music programme together with a new force in jazz-based education and community work.

The programme will be delivered by an innovative partnership between the venues and development agency Birmingham Jazz, showing how arts organisations can combine resources successfully. Together, they will deliver live jazz around Birmingham, celebrating local and global talent in a range of settings around the city.

Supporting this will be a series of community-orientated jazz-based learning and participation activities, aimed at developing local young talent. The venture, which will commence in April 2012, has been made possible thanks to a successful application to Arts Council England for a three-year funding deal as part of the Council’s National Portfolio. The collaboration is the first successful outcome of the Birmingham Music Hub project.

Birmingham Jazz and the two venues already collaborate closely on a range of projects, including the hugely successful free Rush Hour Blues series which has now been running for over six years and regularly attracts audiences of over 400 people to Symphony Hall’s foyers.

Tony Dudley-Evans, artistic director of Birmingham Jazz said “We believe this partnership will deliver an enhanced and focused programme to broaden opportunities to engage with live music in Birmingham.”

Paul Keene, director of programming at the Town Hall and Symphony Hall commented, “We work in partnership with a range of small organisations in the city, supporting them and helping develop their audiences. Jazz is a crucial part of the rich mix of music we offer. We’re looking forward to making our harmonious relationship with Birmingham Jazz even closer, using music to bring people together, to entertain and to inspire.”

The mac arts centre based at Cannon Hill Park has also been awarded a place on the National Portfolio. A spokesman for the centre said, “At what is a tremendously difficult time for both arts organisations and those charged with making hard investment decisions in the public funding arena, mac is pleased to be recognised as a key gateway to the arts and to receive sustained funding from Arts Council.

News of this further support will enable the centre to continue to attract large numbers of visitors and participants to their new £15.2 million home.