Mary Muir

Mary Muir – Norfolk County Council

Shortlisted in the 2018 Hearts for the Arts Awards for Best Local Authority Arts Champion – Officer.

Mary Muir has championed the arts in Norfolk for many years now.

In a time of cut backs she has kept councillors on board by championing the role of the arts in health, and she has spearheaded major funding bids that have brought significant new resource into the county. She has also nurtured Norfolk Arts Forum for many years, building a sense of community, enabling networking and championing best practice. She is a quiet star who has brought backbone, drive and direction to the arts in Norfolk.

For several years Mary Muir has sustained the arts within Norfolk County Council. In a period of cuts, where the arts team is now tiny, she has consolidated the position of the arts in the county and even achieved significant areas of improvement:

  • Sustained the highly effective Norfolk Arts Forum, including weekly opportunities mailings and an AGM, both of which are galvanising and confidence building for the sector
  • Worked with Suffolk County Council’s arts officer and New Anglia LEP’s cultural sector advisory group on the cultural strategy: Culture Drives Growth, The East’s cultural Strategy 2016-22, raising funds to deliver supporting developmental initiatives including the ‘Look Sideways East’ cultural tourism initiative. This makes these eastern region counties quite unusual in having a cultural strategy at the heart of its economic development strategy
  • Championed the role of arts in health, working with departments across the county to ensure the arts has a place at the table within community and health programmes, and ensuring councillors see the value of the arts within the broader council’s work
  • Written and created the partnerships and strategic thinking behind successful applications to ACE and for European funding to deliver the excellent ‘Start East’ programme providing targeted, specialist business support to SME’s and start-ups in the cultural sector

Norfolk – and Suffolk too – have benefited massively from her devotion, professionalism and drive.  And Mary works many unpaid extra hours and has done for at least the last five years.

What the judges had to say:

“Mary deserves this award for her consistent support for the arts over a long career” Arts Development UK