By Andrew Topping, Local Democracy Journalist
Artistic and creative activities could be offered to targeted communities and neighborhoods in Mansfield to encourage more people to engage with culture away from the city’s museum and theater.
This includes offering regular and “sustained” activities in areas like Portland, Ladybrook and Bull Farm, Oak Tree, Bellamy and Warsop, and focusing on skills and career programs for residents.
Other targeted communities could include children in care, people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), and people targeted by gender-based violence.
It is part of the authority’s plan to become a National Holding Organization (NPO) – an arts and cultural operation that follows the goals set by the national body of the Arts Council.
If successful in a bid, due to be submitted next month, Mansfield District Council expects to receive around £560,000 from the Arts Council each year from 2023-2026 to provide a range of targeted services.
The authority has set out eight projects it would target if successful with its NPO bid, which also include an “active learning” platform, workforce development, conservation projects and a environmental program.
It also includes projects to increase the creative quality and ambition of the neighborhood and to ensure “long-term sustainability” of the community’s artistic and cultural offering.
Sian Booth, head of cultural services at the authority, says Mansfield is a ‘priority location’ for the Arts Council because of a ‘historic low level of investment in the arts’ and low cultural uptake.
Speaking at a scrutiny and review meeting on Tuesday (April 26), she said: “Mansfield is really in the spotlight and this is our chance to aim for that national portfolio.
“It builds on the existing programs we already have here, creating a strong and sustainable pipeline of top creative talent at Mansfield.”
She added that it will seek to improve the Mansfield Museum’s collection of works and art, including “very rare and special natural history”, and will target environmental sustainability.
However, David Evans, the authority’s head of health and communities, says the NPO’s plans will focus on more than the existing museum and Palace Theater facilities.
He said, “It’s about bringing culture and the arts outside the four walls of the theater and the museum.
“We recognize that many people will never engage in arts and culture by going to museums or theaters – they never, ever will.
“So it’s a question of what else we can do to enable them to engage in it. It gives us the opportunity to do just that, because it gives us the financial clout to explore some of these projects and make a difference.
The council will submit its non-profit application to the Arts Council by the May 18, 2022 deadline.
A monitoring group will be set up and monitored by the existing monitoring and review committee, assessing how the organization meets its Arts Council objectives and spends the funds.
There is currently another NPO in Mansfield – Inspire Youth Arts, based at the old Leeming Street Library and run by Nottinghamshire County’s Inspire organisation.
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