Cllr Danny Thorpe. Credit - Royal Parks

Hearts for the Arts 2022 Shortlist – Councillor Danny Thorpe

Royal Borough of Greenwich's Councillor Danny Thorpe has been shortlisted for Best Arts Champion - Councillor in the 2022 Hearts for the Arts Awards

Councillor Danny Thorpe is a passionate supporter of the arts and he has provided communities throughout the Borough with much-needed leadership throughout the pandemic, ensuring that the Council provided support to local cultural organisations when other local authorities in London cut their funding. Through the Borough’s Royal Greenwich Festivals initiative, Cllr Thorpe has ensured that a combination of digital and live creative projects and events have been delivered to local people throughout the pandemic, including the annual Greenwich+Docklands International Festival.

Cllr Thorpe brought together significant partnerships to secure and deliver Woolwich Works a major new arts & culture venue in the heart of Woolwich, bringing former at-risk ammunitions factory buildings back to life. In doing so, Cllr Thorpe has been instrumental in bringing major new cultural partners to Woolwich including, Punchdrunk, Chineke!, National Youth Jazz Orchestra and Protein Dance. Woolwich Works provides local people with discounted and free tickets to events and provides studio and production space for local community organisations and schools. Cllr Thorpe also supported extensive job creation in the cultural industries at Woolwich Works with roles recruited via the Council’s employment and jobs brokerage service that helps get local people into apprenticeships, jobs and training.

Since becoming Council Leader, Cllr Thorpe has appointed Adel Khaireh as a Cabinet Member with specific responsibility to arts and culture and supported Khaireh in developing Black Histroy 365 – a full year of events to mark Black History Month, which Cllr Thorpe backed up with dedicated funding for local organisations. In his time as Council Leader, he has introduced a ‘Tourism & Culture’ award at the Council’s annual Business Awards, and has also launched the Community Arts Fund and Arts & Culture Strategic fund at a time when those funding streams have been needed most. In addition, Cllr Thorpe hosted the Mayor of London and Deputy Mayor of London (Business) on separate visits to highlight the impact of COVID-19 on business in the arts and culture sector.

Cllr Thorpe has consistently championed culture as a means of reanimating the Borough’s town centres, working with Visit Greenwich to encourage local people and visitors from further afield to reboot Greenwich’s vital cultural economy.

What the judges said:

Councillor Danny Thorpe is a clear advocate for arts and culture within the local authority and has used his position as Councillor to drive forward arts and culture projects, secure funding and embed arts and culture at a strategic level within local plans.”

“How extraordinary to have a council leader who is such a passionate champion of the arts. It’s truly inspiring to hear what Cllr Thorpe has done for Greenwich. He personifies what the millions of people who love the arts, and enjoy taking part in them every year, want from their local leaders.”