After a year of challenging circumstances and uncertainty, which have severely reduced Battersea Arts Centre’s income, this grant is a crucial means of support which allows us to look forwards with greater confidence.
Throughout the pandemic we have used our resources to keep supporting artists and our community; with commissions for new digital work, COVID-secure work spaces for local businesses, shifting activity of our flagship programmes for young people (The Agency and BAC Beatbox Academy) online, and ensuring all families have had access to creative materials during school closures.
With this grant, we can move towards a new phase – we will soon be able to host live performance in the building, alongside our ground-breaking digital work, as we continue to make our cultural hub as accessible as possible. By investing more substantially in artists, we will be able to once again invite audiences and our community to safely connect in person, as well as remotely.
We are very glad to be just one of more than 2,700 recipients of this latest round of grants awarded as part of the Government’s £1.57bn Culture Recovery Fund. The sector has responded to this time of intense isolation by broadening its networks and working together in new ways, led by creative people everywhere finding innovative solutions to complex problems faced by their communities. We heartily thank HM Treasury, DCMS and ACE’s ongoing investment in the creative industries, as we continue to develop the ways that arts and culture can support people across the UK.
Our first step for putting the grant into action is to provide more support to creative artists and freelancers who have been in a very vulnerable position throughout the pandemic and have been among the hardest hit within the industry. One third of our grant will go directly to artists through commissions for bold, exciting new works, which will fill our upcoming seasons.
Another portion of the grant enables us to fully implement and launch our new, universal Pay What You Can pricing model. Following on from becoming the world’s first Relaxed Venue a year ago, we want as many people as possible to be able to access the performances created by the inspiring artists we’re working with, and to find themselves at home alongside our community in our beautiful, historic building. This is especially important in the aftermath of the pandemic.
The remaining money will continue to underpin Battersea Arts Centre’s basic operating costs in this period before re-opening, when our ability to earn income from ticket sales, commercial building hires and other external events has been very reduced.
We can’t wait to welcome people back to the building later this year, in a more inclusive way.
“It is a huge boost to receive this critical support at this moment – these funds are an absolute lifeline for Battersea Arts Centre. They will allow us to continue the vital work of supporting the creativity of artists, young people and our communities through this unique period of change. It will also enable us to host live performances again, and to bring people together, safely and joyfully, in communal spaces after so much isolation. And crucially, Battersea Arts Centre can continue efforts to ensure life-changing arts and culture is accessible to everyone, regardless of background or personal circumstances. We are very grateful for this show of support for our work and promise to put this money to very good use.”
Tarek Iskander, Artistic Director and CEO of Battersea Arts Centre
“Investing in a thriving cultural sector at the heart of communities is a vital part of helping the whole country to recover from the pandemic. These grants will help to re-open theatres, concert halls, and museums and will give artists and companies the opportunity to begin making new work.
“We are grateful to the Government for this support and for recognising the paramount importance of culture to our sense of belonging and identity as individuals and as a society.”
Sir Nicholas Serota, Chair of Arts Council England