Mayor Joe Anderson, Liverpool City Council

Hearts for the Arts Shortlist: Mayor Joe Anderson, Liverpool City Council

Shortlisted in the inaugural National Campaign for the Arts/What Next? Hearts for the Arts Awards 2017 for Best Local Authority Arts Champion – Councillor.

Joe Anderson, in outlining his vision for Liverpool, has said repeatedly that culture is the ‘rocket fuel for the city’s continuing regeneration.’

As Leader of Liverpool City Council from 2010-2012, and Liverpool’s first directly-elected Mayor since 2012, Mayor Anderson continues to demonstrate his belief that creativity, cultural prowess, regeneration and economic success are interlinked.

At every opportunity, Joe champions the events, arts and cultural programme of the city and its heritage celebrating their impact and relationship to the character of the city. He talks continually about how proud he is of the diversity and range of cultural organisation that are based in Liverpool and of those who choose the city to showcase their art. Mayor Anderson recognises that Liverpool’s cultural organisations produce a distinctive and compelling cultural offer that brings hundreds of thousands of visitors to the city each year whilst also generating enormous civic pride amongst residents. Thanks to his belief, Liverpool is now one of the most important and exciting cultural centres in the UK.

Mayor Anderson has managed to maintain significant investment in Liverpool’s arts and culture, working with partners to support its infrastructure and investment in the city’s cultural assets, for example the rebuilding of the Liverpool Everyman and the major refurbishments of Liverpool Philharmonic Hall and Royal Court Theatre.

Funding levels for the City’s cultural partners including Liverpool Philharmonic, Everyman Playhouse, Liverpool Biennial, FACT and Unity Theatre, have been maintained for a two-year period, providing them with a level of stability to lever down additional funding from other private and public sources and generate other income.

During his tenure as Mayor, the city established the annual Liverpool International Music Festival (LIMF) in 2012, which in just four years, has become Europe’s biggest free music festival, and delivering significant economic impact to the city.

In 2015, Liverpool became the first English city to be awarded the prestigious status of UNESCO City of Music earning the accolade due to music’s “place in the heart of the city’s life”.

In August 2015, the newly appointed Secretary of State, Rt Hon Karen Bradley made her maiden speech from Music Room, built as part of the £14.5M refurbishment of Liverpool Philharmonic Hall, in which Liverpool City Council invested significant support. This was recognised by the Culture Secretary, as was the importance of culture and creating access to it to enrich lives and drive regeneration when she said: “Liverpool punches way above its weight for Culture, Media and Sport.”

What the judges had to say:

Deborah Bull, former Royal Ballet Principal Dancer: “Liverpool is fortunate to have a Mayor who is so committed to supporting culture locally, and who understands its potential to contribute to the health and wellbeing of not just the city, but the people who live and work there.”