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Hearts for the Arts Awards launched

What Next? and the National Campaign for the Arts launch new Awards to celebrate exceptional Local Government support for the arts.

What Next? and the National Campaign for the Arts have come together to launch the Hearts for the Arts Awards, a new initiative to reward and thank Councils, Councillors and Council officers who are overcoming financial challenges to ensure the arts stay at the centre of community life.

Three of the Awards (Best Local Authority Arts Initiative, Best Local Authority Arts Champion and Best Local Authority Arts Project encouraging community cohesion) can be nominated by members of the public and Local Authorities themselves. Nominations can be made online at www.heartsforthearts.org.uk before midnight on Friday 11 November.

Final judging will be by a panel including Young Vic Artistic Director David Lan and Actor and Director Samuel West (Chairs of What Next? and the NCA respectively) and will take place later in 2016. All Hearts for the Award winners will presented with their Awards at their Town Hall (or equivalent) by one or more renowned artists, giving an excellent opportunity to generate local and national media coverage for the winner.

David Lan commented: “I am delighted we are launching the Hearts for the Arts Awards at the What Next? National event at HOME in Manchester. Manchester is a shining example of a local authority’s vision and leadership in the way the arts have led the re-invention of a great city. These awards will draw all our attention to the many examples of Councils plugging into the power of the arts to transform communities.”

Samuel West remarked: “Town Halls across the nation are under unprecedented pressure. Budgets are down, demands are up, especially in important areas like social care. Nevertheless, some Local Authorities still understand the importance of the arts to our wellbeing, and the value that a small but crucial investment brings. Our ‘Hearts for the Arts’ Awards will honour the incredible people and places that help the arts bring us together, creating sustainable, cohesive communities in challenging times.”