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£10m windfall for Black Country attractions

Sandwell | News | Published:

More than £10 million is being pumped into museums, theatres and arts organisations across the Black Country, it was announced today.

The money has been set aside by Arts Council England and will be spent between 2015 and 2018. Attractions getting cash include the Black Country Living Museum in Dudley, the New Art Gallery, Walsall, Arena Theatre, Wolverhampton and Wolverhampton Art Gallery.

Other organisations benefitting from a grant include West Bromwich-based Multistory; Arts Connect, Wolverhampton and West Bromwich-based Black Country Touring.

The Black Country Living Museum will receive £2,658,000. It is the first year the attraction has got funding from Arts Council England. Andrew Lovett, director and chief executive, has welcomed the boost, saying: "Securing this level of investment is a major achievement for museums in the Midlands region."

The Arena Theatre – a 150-seat arena in Wulfruna Street, Wolverhampton, – will get £110,000 per year over the next three years until 2017/18.

Educational arts organisation Arts Connect, affiliated to the University of Wolverhampton, will receive £3.2m from 2015 to 2018, down from £3.4m, a drop of nine per cent. While Wolverhampton Art Gallery and Bilston Craft Gallery will get £383,265 between them, up from £382,010.

The New Art Gallery in Walsall is to get £2,644,462, up from £2,635,820 and £430,490 is heading to Black Country Touring, up from £429,083. Multistory, an organisation that works with artists to make art with and about the people of Sandwell, is to get £421,054, up from £422,435.

Peter Phillips, chairman of the Midlands Area Council, added: "The Midlands has an ambitious and exciting cultural offer. It's home to a great number of organisations and artists that produce world-class work and we're committed to maintaining this thriving cultural scene. Because there were so many good applications we faced a difficult task of making the funding recommendations but we're proud of the portfolio and hope it will help us achieve our goal of getting great art to everyone."

Peter Knott, area director of Arts Council England, added: "We are investing in an exciting and varied portfolio of organisations and all of them help us to achieve our aim of great art and culture for everyone.

"The quality and range of these organisations reflects the wealth of creative talent we have here. At a time of significant economic challenge I'm pleased that we have been able to maintain existing levels of funding for many organisations."

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