Major Southend project wins arts funding
5th April 2011
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Major Southend projects win arts funding

Vibrant leading Southend arts projects, Metal, and Focal Point Gallery have each won a coveted Arts Council funding boost, it was announced today.

Both organisations were judged against very stringent criteria for the Arts Council’s National portfolio funding, and against hot competition. There were 1,333 applications for Arts Council funding – almost one third more than the budget available.

The Focal Point Gallery, based at Southend Central Library, Victoria Avenue, Southend, has been awarded £406,500 for the next three years, while Metal, based in Chalkwell Park, clinched a 69.6 per cent rise in its annually awarded funding settlement.

Describing the work of the Gallery, the Arts Council said: “The Focal Point Gallery provides the region with challenging, experimental and visionary lens based and moving image work. It commissions major solo, group and thematic shows, events including performances, film screening and talks, offsite projects and a diverse and engaging education programme.

“The Gallery has a national and international reputation for commissioning and programming high quality and ambitious new work, and curates ambitious quality touring shows. It is the only contemporary art gallery in Southend, and extends its reach across the Thames Gateway. Offsite projects are curated in the town centre taking work out to local people and increasing the gallery’s profile.”

The Arts Council said of Metal: “Metal is an exemplary facilitator and catalyst for combined arts innovation through its excellent artistic programme and strategic work.”

Metal’s Managing Director, Colette Bailey said: “It’s absolutely wonderful news. The team at Metal have worked really hard to achieve this fantastic acknowledgement of our work. It is a real testament to our ability, commitment and particular methodology of working with artists and with other partners within communities. We are looking forward to being even more effective in future years.”

Southend-on-Sea Borough Council’s Corporate Director for Adult and Community Services, Simon Leftley said: “We are delighted that the Focal Point Gallery and Metal have received Arts Council funding, especially in this difficult financial climate.

“This clearly demonstrates the extent to which the borough is now seen as a leading cultural centre. The funding is also vital as both Metal and the Focal Point Gallery themselves support a wide range of other local cultural organisations.”

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