Councillor Wendy Simon, Liverpool City Council

Hearts for the Arts Winner: Councillor Wendy Simon, Liverpool City Council

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

Councillor Simon has 35 years’ experience in local government and is Assistant Mayor of Liverpool City Council as well as Cabinet Member for Culture, Tourism and Events.

In 2012, Wendy oversaw Sea Odyssey: A Giant Spectacular, which brought three giants to Liverpool’s streets for three days. The event brought almost 1,000,000 visitors to Liverpool and attracted media attention from around the world. The economic impact to the city was massive, with businesses reporting a 29% rise in trade during the event.

Councillor Simon continues to lead the delivery of ambitious, ground breaking projects which will put Liverpool at centre stage and support key cultural museums, art galleries and theatres in the city, showcasing Liverpool as a major European tourist attraction. Wendy plays an active role as a Board member of Liverpool’s major cultural venues attending meetings, events and activities throughout the year. She is readily accessible and willing to give advice and support whenever she can and is a true friend of, not only our theatre but, all of the other cultural attractions she is responsible for.

Wendy oversees the distribution of funds to cultural organisations from Liverpool City Council. The social impact of organisations funded through these programmes serve Liverpool’s diverse communities and Wendy champions these organisations at all times. They include the UK’s largest African Festival, Africa Oye, which attracts over 40,000 people each summer and the Pagoda Chinese Youth Orchestra that proudly represents Liverpool’s Chinese Community both locally and internationally. Throughout her work, Wendy ensures that all cultural organisations funded by Liverpool City Council are committed to reaching out to and meaningfully engaging hard to reach and underrepresented groups.

Wendy also plays an important role in championing the distinctive culture of the Liverpool City Region and works to ensure that high quality cultural attractions that make the visitor experience unique and ‘always culturally Liverpool’ are protected and encouraged to grow and develop.

What the judges had to say:

Chi-chi Nwanoku OBE, double bassist: “Cllr Simons has clearly overseen an immense range of strategies and initiatives that have raised the cultural impact for everyone in Liverpool.”