A vision to establish Basingstoke and Deane as a renowned centre of excellence for the arts has been agreed, to keep the spirit of Basingstoke Festival going all year-long.
Building on six successful years of having a festival in Basingstoke, the vision was agreed at a meeting of Cabinet last night (Tuesday 11 July) just two days after the curtain came down on this year’s packed programme.
The Enriching Lives: Culture at the Heart of our Community vision aims to make the arts, heritage and culture an integral part of the borough’s identity over the next 10 years, creating a lasting legacy and making the most of what is going on here.
With an already excellent reputation for celebrating local creativity, nurturing talent and a vibrant year-round programme of community events, public art and a lively cultural scene, the council plans to further enhance the borough as an attractive place to live, learn, work and visit.
Through an integrated approach to local arts and culture, the proposals in the plan will encourage educational attainment in schools, the growth of rural arts, social inclusion and more opportunities for local creative businesses to thrive. There will be more arts events throughout the year and support for sustainable creative organisations.
One of the key points of the action plan is to focus on improving cultural facilities in Basingstoke town centre, including developing a creative arts hub in the Top of the Town to make the best of use of The Haymarket and the Willis Museum.
The plan is to do this by strengthening relationships with key funding organisations and businesses and encouraging partnership working to find funding opportunities.
Cabinet Member for Housing, Regeneration, Arts and Heritage Cllr Terri Reid said: “It is amazing how much art and culture is created and enjoyed in the borough and this year’s festival showcased that more than ever. From pop-up performances in a shop in Church Street to the first outdoor film screening in War Memorial Park, the breadth of new arts and culture created for the festival is continually growing.
“We already have world-class performance venues attracting international attention, heritage sites of significant importance, a brilliant programme of events, hugely talented artists and thriving cultural organisations.
"The ‘Born in the Borough’ theme for this year’s festival reflected our pride in local culture, especially Jane Austen’s lasting legacy as one local creative genius. This strategy clearly sets out an aspiration to continue to develop the creative icons of the future. It aims to further enhance and develop our cultural significance, both locally and nationally, and make sure that everyone has a chance to benefit from the enrichment of everyday life that art and culture brings to the borough.”