Pot of cash for artists

Julia Turpin of LeftCoast
Julia Turpin of LeftCoast
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Artists are being called on to dip into a £40,000 pot of cash to help develop skills and expand their experiences.

Blackpool and Wyre’s arts body LeftCoast has launched two new commission schemes, aimed at encouraging artists to take on new projects or to hone their skills.

Artists can apply for a ‘fast-track learning’ LeftCoast Express bursary of £1,500 or one of six £3,000 to £5,000 grants from the Future Popular commissions’ pot.

LeftCoast Express aims to help artists or organisations boost their own knowledge by funding trips to see others’ works or allowing shadowing opportunities, with the cast.

Funding could cover travel, accommodation and other costs involved in broadening horizons.

Future Popular projects should be ‘brilliant new ideas’ to benefit the people of Blackpool and Wyre.

Grant applications will be judged by a panel of residents and business people.

LeftCoast executive director Julia Turpin said: “It is hugely important that we support the growth and development of locally-based artists and arts organisations to ensure a sustainable and diverse sector in the area producing high quality and ground-breaking new work that can only be seen here.

“Not only is this an opportunity to boost the visitor economy by attracting cultural tourists into the town but it also enriches the lives of people right here by giving them a rich and varied selection of things to see and do.”

Rick Thompson has received a previous round of LeftCoast Express funding, and this weekend helped organise the Other Worlds Festival of experimental music.

He said: “LeftCoast Express has opened up doors that would never have been opened for me.

“I’m now part of a newly established organisation with opportunities presenting themselves on a regular basis and exciting projects under way – projects that would 
not have been realised otherwise.”

As well as the cash, LeftCoast also offers monthly arts surgeries, opening their doors for one-to-one advice sessions, covering topics such as applying for Arts Council funding, brainstorming new ideas and PR and marketing, through to finding new collaborators.

A launch night for the funding schemes and LeftCoast surgeries will take place at the Winter Gardens Theatre Bar on Wednesday, April 22 at 5pm. For more information visit www.leftcoast.org.uk or call (01253) 477973.