NEWS & VIEWS

Best Arts Project WINNER – Westminster Reveals


Westminster Reveals is the overarching cultural campaign Westminster Council developed in response to the pandemic this year, which sought to support the cultural sector and attract footfall back into Westminster through the curation of a programme of accessible art interventions in outdoor public spaces and vacant shops.

Westminster Reveals has been selected as one of three winners of the Best Arts Projects Award in the 2022 Hearts for the Arts Awards. In the words of our judges, here’s why:

The scale of this project is huge as is the ambition. The response to Covid is really impressive in particular. Partnership appears to be at the centre of the success of this project. Well done! Andy Dawson:Inspire Youth Arts, winner of the 2021 HFTA award for Best Arts Champion – Local Authority or Cultural Trust Worker

What is impressive about Westminster Reveals is the wide range of inspirational art projects that were engaged with – performance, exhibition and interactive engagement involving sketching for the public, a light show, dance shows and workshops, skateboarding, theatre and more. The project ensured the involvement of diverse communities through a Caribbean project, the facilitating of a charity that supports disabilities and autism, the welcoming of schoolchildren. There was also a fantastic use of outdoor space and the high street; using abandoned units to help artists, bring footfall back and provide partnerships between business interests and cultural regeneration. This shows sensitivity in the response to issues presented by COVID19, and it is a very imaginative initiative. Kadiatu Kanneh-Mason: author, speaker and supporter of music education

A gargantuan task well-executed at a time when the heart of London seemed to have been ripped out. I was particularly impressed by the use of space to create pop-ups to keep businesses hopeful and hopefully afloat. The engagement with social media was also impressive. Shaparak Khorsandi: stand-up comedian, writer, all round delight

So many cultural organisations struggled with getting people back through the doors after the first lockdown, and so it’s fantastic to see ‘Westminster Reveals’ utilising otherwise empty spaces to draw people back in. It’s amazing to read that 41% of those who saw the free ‘West End Live’ in Trafalgar square then purchased tickets, providing a huge boost for theatres. Great, too, to see them using these spaces as opportunities to gently educate people on issues of diversity, whether through the Windrush living room installation or the exhibition celebrating pioneering women. This campaign capitalised on the already large numbers of people coming through these spaces and allowed them to encounter art in a way that encouraged them to take their relationship with art even further. Anna Lapwood: organist, conductor and broadcaster

A huge and ambitious project which really embraced a wide community both culturally and commercially. Innovation shines through, particularly leveraging existing partnerships in a new and different way. I also sense real “Legacy”, the success of many of the initiatives within this project will inspire and inform what can be achieved in the future. In different and challenging times, this project rose up to make a real difference. Deborah Meaden: businesswoman and TV Dragon

It does feel like Westminster Reveals has been about joy. What a glorious thing. Jack Thorne: screenwriter and playwright

Westminster is lucky to have such cultural riches, but looking after them still requires effort and energy. When the prospects for the sector went off a cliff at the start of the pandemic (I had a show going into the West End, which was cancelled), the future looked dim. Westminster Reveals not only spread joy, but was an accessible way of getting people, many of whom had never set foot in a theatre or art gallery, into town again. Samuel West: actor, director, trustee of the National Campaign for the Arts

Read more about the nomination for Westminster Reveals here

Photo Credit – Press Association

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