Arts Council England starts agency search after 50m funding boost

Arts%20CouncilThe Arts Council England, the national development agency for the arts, is planning a strategic overhaul of the organisation following a £50m cash injection, promised recently by Secretary of State for Culture James Purnell.

The Council is seeking an advertising agency as part of the revamp. It will have a brief to increase awareness of the organisation and its work for the promotion of art. COI is understood to be handling the pitch, although it declined to comment.

Purnell has increased the funding over the next three years from £417m this year to £467m in 2010/11 to “put the arts at the heart of national life” (MW November 1).

The organisation, which works as an independent body, distributes public money from the Government and the National Lottery to help develop and promote the arts across England.

Last year, the Arts Council England teamed up with retailer Sainsbury’s to produce limited-edition, re-usable shopping bags designed by artists. The initiative coincided with the council’s 60th anniversary and sought to raise awareness of environmentally-friendly bags.

The Council is currently running an initiative to attract young people to the theatre, by holding a series of events designed to introduce them to creative career opportunities.

Earlier this year the organisation appointed marketing communications agency 23red to handle an integrated awareness-building campaign for the East Midlands. The activity included the promotion of the Creative Partnerships, a joint venture by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport and the Department of Education and Skills (now called Department for Children, Schools, and Families).

The Arts Council of Great Britain was the post-war descendant of the Committee for the Encouragement of Music and the Arts (CEMA), which was formally set up by Royal Charter in 1940.

In 1994, the Arts Council of Great Britain was abolished, and its functions transferred to three separate bodies – the Arts Council of England, the Arts Council of Wales and the Scottish Arts Council.

Under a new Royal Charter, the objectives of the Arts Council of England were to develop and improve the knowledge, understanding and practice of the arts, and to advise and cooperate with departments of Government, local authorities and the Arts Councils for Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

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