Nine local artists and collectives have been given the opportunity to turn their dream project into a reality after securing funding from St Helens Council.
As part of the award-winning Cultural Hubs: Arts in Libraries programme, St Helens Council’s Cultural Hubs: Arts in Libraries team recently launched its 2020/21 artist commissions which looks to financially support creative practitioners working in various art forms.
The successful projects come from It Is What It Is Productions; The Year of the Rat Performance Collective; Sarah Gilman; Kevin Crooks; Grace Collins; Fiona Stirling; Ian Brownbill; Emmer Winder – and a troupe consisting of Ian Greenall, Andrew Dickinson, Jason Anders, Michaela Anders and Ian Ryan.
This year’s artist commissions saw 16 applications submitted to the Arts in Libraries team, shortlisted down to nine artists and groups who will be given a share of £12,500 to get their idea off the ground and showcase their work in libraries across the borough next year.
Among those to benefit from this year’s commissions is Sarah Gilman from Sutton Leach, an incredibly talented painter who graduated from St Helens University Centre in 2018 with a series of studies in contemporary still life works. For the new commission, Sarah will be exploring through her paintings the way we see books depicted in art, and showing them in libraries whenever it’s safe and sensible to do so.
Sarah said: “I am incredibly excited about being chosen for this commission. Books and libraries have always been important to me and my family and so a commission to produce paintings that consider books in still-life is a great way to develop my practice and find new directions for exploration.”
Passing on his congratulations to the talented artists and groups to receive funding for 2020/21, St Helens Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Health, Leisure, Libraries, Arts and Heritage, Councillor Anthony Burns, said: “All entries were to a very high standard as always and it was difficult to narrow It down to just nine, which speaks volumes of the level of talent we have here in the borough.
“Well done to those successful in receiving funds to support their project which I’m very much looking forward to seeing in our libraries next year.
“We’re really proud of our Cultural Hubs programme and how it has positively impacted communities across the borough, with over 4,000 people engaging with the project last year and discovering that libraries are a lot more than just books.”
Cultural Hubs is funded by Arts Council England and delivered by St Helens Council’s Library Service, which is an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation.