Hearts for the Arts

These awards are an annual celebration of the local authorities who invest in the joy, excitement and life-enriching quality of the arts. Each year they demonstrate the power of the arts to change lives.

Councils have been the unsung heroes of arts funding for decades. Town Halls across the nation are under unprecedented pressure to reduce budgets and deal with increased demands in areas such as social care, but even so our analysis shows the arts have been cut disproportionately in the last five years compared to council services overall (despite the fact that investment in the arts accounts on average for less than ½p in every £1 spent by local authorities in England).

But this is not true everywhere. Some Local Authorities really understand the importance of the arts to the well-being of local communities and the value that this small but crucial investment brings.

The winners of the 2018 Hearts for the Arts Awards were:

Best Local Authority Arts Initiative
I.AM.NOT.A.ROBOT, Plymouth City Council

Best Local Authority Arts Project Encouraging Community Cohesion
Lost in Art, Denbighshire County Council 

Best Local Authority Arts Champion – Councillor
Councillor Cliff Morris, Bolton Council

Best Local Authority Arts Champion – Officer
Lorna Lee, London Borough of Waltham Forest

You can read the full list of 2018 nominees and winners here.


Hearts for the Arts is a National Campaign for the Arts initiative.
Delivered by UK Theatre
In partnership with Culture Counts, Local Government Association, Theatre NI, Voluntary Arts Wales, Wales Council for Voluntary Action and What Next?

Our annual Hearts for the Arts Awards shine a spotlight on councils and individual officers and Councillors who are overcoming financial challenges to ensure the arts are at the centre of community life.

Nominations for the 2018-19 Hearts for the Arts Awards open on Wednesday 12 September 2018.

From Wednesday 12 September 2018 until voting closes on Friday 2 November, members of the public, arts professionals and local authorities are invited to nominate the people and projects who are making a difference for the arts in their local area.

Tell us who the arts champions are in your community. The award categories are:

  • Best Local Authority Arts Initiative
  • Best Local Authority Arts Project Encouraging Community Cohesion
  • Best Local Authority Arts Champion – Councillor
  • Best Local Authority Arts Champion – Officer

Read our FAQs and find out more about the awards  – English or Welsh

The winners will be announced on Valentines Day, Thursday 14 February 2019.

Click here to nominate a person or a project for a Hearts for the Arts award