Support for the arts during the Corona crisis

Published: Thursday, April 23, 2020

The council is working with local arts organisations and cultural groups to help them survive through the pandemic.

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Wandsworth gives grants to some arts organisations and commissions others to provide services on its behalf, such as Battersea Arts Centre’s community projects and Action Space and Oily Cart, both of whom work with people with disabilities. It will waive their existing funding conditions and support them to deliver their work during social distancing.

There is a strong focus on how vulnerable people can still be supported to enjoy the arts. For example Action Space has posted art packs to participants and is following this up with phone calls, Coda Dance is doing similar work with outpatients of the Royal Hospital for Neuro-Disability and Battersea Arts Centre has successfully moved its Create Court, The Agency, Young Producers and BAC Beatbox Academy to digital channels.   

Support also includes paying all Wandsworth Arts Festival grants and fees in full and without delay and supporting projects that received funding from the Wandsworth Grants Fund to extend their timetable or refocus their project.

The arts team will offer new online platforms for artists and organisations, including WAF in Your Living Room. The annual Wandsworth Arts Fringe (WAF) take place in May and has previously included an online element called WAF in your Living Room delivered straight into people’s homes and supporting vulnerable residents. This year WAF in Your Living Room will be greatly expanded to be available to everyone, and will include recorded theatre, live music, dance and other works online. Details will be released on the WAF website on May 1.

Some arts projects could be commissioned if they don’t break social distancing rules. Projects being developed include the creation of locally-felled wood-carved outdoor furniture for local schools,  an exhibition trail across community noticeboards of artwork that came out of workshops with students at St John Bosco College and a self-guided art trail around local estates.

The arts team is in close contact with arts organisations and artists to help them access grants from other sources, such as Arts Council England, and has put a comprehensive list of available support on its websiteIt will also give them information on opportunities to have work commissioned, such as opportunities from the BBC, and is holding virtual events to keep artists plugged into local networks.

Cllr Steffi Sutters said: “The arts and cultural sector has always been an important part of Wandsworth’s economy and vibrancy and the council recognises that it is one of the sectors being hardest hit by this crisis.

“We are doing all we can to support artists and organisations both financially and in terms of networking and finding new audiences -  I’m really looking forward to WAF in Your Living Room – and after this pandemic is over, we will work hard to find ways in which we can help the sector recover.”

If you want to get in touch with the arts team to discuss how they can help you or your organisation, email arts@wandsworth.gov.uk  

Wandsworth Arts will also use its social media platforms and regular emailed newsletter to get information to artists and publicise the work they are doing. Follow @wandsworth_arts