Cultural groups urged to apply for business/arts partnership funding

Cultural organisations across the isles are being urged to apply now for a share of the sponsorship scheme which provided funds for the pelagic sculpture “Da Lightsome Buoy” at Lerwick’s Esplanade.

Funded by the Scottish government via Creative Scotland and run by Arts & Business Scotland, the New Arts Sponsorship Grants programme has been running since 2006.

Promoting collaboration between Scottish business and culture, it has invested more than £960,000 across 44 individual arts and heritage projects in the Highlands and Islands.

Da Lightsome Buoy sculpture at Lerwick’s Esplanade. Photo: Jo Chapman

The programme is open to businesses interested in sponsoring an arts or heritage project for the first time as well as businesses that may have sponsored such projects in the past but not in the past three years.

Cultural organisations having identified a business sponsor for their project can apply for funding from the programme, which provides pound for pound match funding of business sponsorship valued anywhere between £1,000 and £40,000.

By effectively doubling the financial impact of the business sponsorship, the New Arts Sponsorship Grants programme has helped a wide variety of arts and heritage projects across the Highlands and Islands get off the ground.

One such example was the Lightsome Buoy project, spearheaded by Shetland Arts to commission and fund a sculpture for Lerwick’s waterfront celebrating the role of the pelagic fishing industry in Shetland’s life, economy and culture.

Matched by funding from the New Arts programme, along with sponsorship from the Shetland Fish Producers Organisation (SFPO), Lerwick Port Authority and marine supplies company LHD Ltd, the project supported a 10-week residency for artist Jo Chapman, as well as the design and fabrication of the sculpture.

Shetland Arts general manager Graeme Howell said: “The pelagic sculpture project was a stunning achievement both in terms of the sculpture itself and in engaging new audiences with an arts project, including the local fishing industry in Shetland.

Graeme Howell said grant was crucial to the success of Da Lightsome Buoy project. Photo: Dave Donaldson

“The contribution of the New Arts Sponsorship Grant was crucial to the project – it simply could not have happened without it. The project’s long-term legacy is to have successfully engaged the whole community, from the youngest to the oldest, and across all walks of life, in a collective celebration of the enduring importance of the pelagic industry to Shetland’s life and culture and economy.”

SFPO chief executive Brian Isbister said: “The sculpture is a great way to exhibit the fishing history of Shetland and how it has made Shetland the way it is today. Our organisation was keen to promote this community art project which raises the awareness of our industry to both locals and visitors alike.

“With the added value of the New Arts Sponsorship Grant this meant that Shetland Fish Producers’ Organisation was promoted to a wider audience, which we are delighted with.”

Applications for project funding must be made by the arts or heritage partner and submitted at least three months before the cultural activity begins. The project receiving funding must be completed no more than nine months after the date of submitting a funding application.

Only businesses that have not sponsored an arts or heritage project in the last three financial years are eligible to take part – as well as those businesses that are completely new to cultural sponsorship.


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