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> > > Arts Council England announces successful capital application in the East Midlands  

Arts Council England has announced that Embrace Arts (Richard Attenborough Centre at Leicester University) has been successful in the first stage of its new large-scale capital funding programme with a proposed award of £600,000.

Arts Council England has announced that Embrace Arts (Richard Attenborough Centre at Leicester University) has been successful in the first stage of its new large-scale capital funding programme with a proposed award of £600,000.

Nationally, there have been 26 successful projects, with the majority focusing on the refurbishment or extension of existing arts buildings, and range from the replacement of critical equipment to large scale renovations and improvements. The Arts Council proposes to invest just over £114 million in this first round of the fund, its first new capital investment in nine years.

Embrace Arts is a multi-use, inclusive arts centre who wish to extend their existing gallery space for the display and interpretation of contemporary visual art.

The centre has a history of promotion and engagement in the arts by disabled people. Currently, they exhibit in a small corridor gallery, they would like to build two flexible gallery spaces and a sculpture court which will increase access for disabled audiences.

Read a full list of successful stage one applications at

Successful applicants will now be invited to complete a stage two application within the next 18 months showing plans at a detailed stage of design and development. This will allow the Arts Council to assess the project against criteria including its long-term sustainability and resilience, the potential for partnership funding, and whether the organisation is able to manage and deliver the work proposed.

Alan Davey, Chief Executive, Arts Council England said:

“This programme is about backing a wide range of really exciting proposals to make sure the arts infrastructure is in place for organisations to thrive, for the benefit of artists and audiences across the country. The Arts Council hasn’t run a capital programme since 2003 so we knew there was a real need to maintain and improve our existing arts and cultural buildings. That’s why we’ve prioritised renovations and refurbishments across the country that deliver sustainability and resilience and ensure organisations have the right facilities and equipment to support and deliver their excellent work.”

Peter Knott, Regional Director, Arts Council England said:

“I’m delighted that Embrace Arts have been successful in going through to the next stage of Capital funding. We are working hard to get great art to more and more people, this project’s proposal has accessibility for all at its heart, and this will help us to achieve that.”

Michaela Butter, co-director of Embrace Arts said:

“We are grateful to the Arts Council for inviting us to apply to stage two of the Capital programme. We believe that our Capital development will allow us to offer opportunities for disabled and non-disabled audiences to access the very best of contemporary visual arts in new and exciting ways."

“As a new National portfolio organisation of the Arts Council we have been allocated funding for the next three years to develop our artistic and educational programme to reach new audiences. The gallery extension will enable us to extend our work to create a sustainable and vibrant future.”

The next round of the large scale capital funding programme will open in the summer.

The Arts Council also recognises the need to invest in smaller scale capital work and will be publishing more information about the small capital grants, alongside a number of other new strategic funds, in the coming months.

The Capital programme is one way the Arts Council is investing its strategic funding between 2012 and 2015. Strategic funding, which comes largely from the Arts Council’s lottery income, will be used to complement the organisation’s £1.04 billion investment in National Portfolio organisations. The strategic funding will be used to target key areas and seize opportunities – including investment in encouraging private giving, building audiences for the arts and the creative people and places programme.

The Arts Council Plan for 2011-2015 sets out in more detail how strategic funding will be used to realise the priorities set out in Achieving great art for everyone – the Arts Council’s ten-year strategic framework for the arts.

To find out more about Embrace Arts go to their website