Harrogate arts festival to go on after loss of £20,000 grant

HARROGATE International Festival will continue despite losing all of its Arts Council funding from next year.

From 2012 HIF will no longer receive an annual £20,000 grant from the Arts Council, which accounted for three per cent of its total budget. The cut was announced on Wednesday, when the Arts Council revealed sweeping cuts to arts companies across the country.

In losing all of its funding it joined organisations in Yorkshire including Wakefield Theatre Royal, Museums Sheffield and Third Angel Theatre Company.

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The HIF received the news of the Arts Council cut less than 24 hours after receiving an award for its work with commercial sponsor Theakston’s.

Sharon Canavar, chief executive of the festival, said: “While this is a great disappointment, this decision does not alter our position at the heart of Yorkshire’s artistic, community and economic life. Our portfolio of activities is without comparison in the region.

“It is this breadth of delivery that will sustain the organisation and be resilient during these challenging times.”

The Harrogate International Festival was launched in 1966 bringing performing arts, literature and community events to Harrogate and North Yorkshire. Since 2003, these have included the Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, the Green Space Festival of outdoor street arts, and it plays a leading role in the North Yorkshire Youth Music Action Zone. It also now incorporates the Carnegie Sporting Words Festival.

HIF’s full programme for 2011 is soon to be announced and plans for 2012 (which will be eligible for support from ACE Grants for the Arts scheme) are already under way.

Ms Canavar added: “We remain committed to our role in arts development, supporting arts organisations within Harrogate and beyond. We will work to forge strong partnerships through diverse sources of funding, commercial links and sponsorship.

“Our success in this area has been recognised with a prestigious 2011 Hollis Sponsorship Award, announced in London this week for our partnership with Theakston’s.”

The festival is held in and around Harrogate in July.