Friday 19th October 2018
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06/07/2018 - Local groups receive funding for arts projects

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Nine local arts projects have successfully received support in the second round of funding as part of Luton’s ten year Strategic Vision for the arts, cultural and creative industries.

The Luton Arts Fund was established in 2017 following the council’s endorsement of Harnessing Momentum, the council’s strategic vision for the arts, cultural and creative industries 2017-2027. 

The Luton Arts Fund enables artists and arts organisations to be ambitious, creative and imaginative in the delivery of projects that help achieve Harnessing Momentum. 

The Arts Fund, generated through contributions from Luton Council, Luton Culture, Arts Council England, University of Bedfordshire and Capital and Regional, opened last year and will once again be open for applications in 2019. It is an accessible fund available to individuals, organisations or collectives and helps breaks down the barriers to arts funding. The activity must be taking place within Luton and is available for both new and enhanced activity. 

Councillor Rachel Hopkins portfolio holder for Culture said: “We are really delighted that there has been another round of high calibre applications for the Arts Fund. It was a really tough decision and we would love to be able to support all of them but we had to choose the ones that best fit the funding criteria and strategic vision.

“The projects range from dance, music, theatre to photography and more and really demonstrate what a great range of talent we have here in Luton. We know the people of the town will want to get involved once the projects are up and running and this will really contribute to help create a vibrant cultural and leisure offer for everyone”.

Aaron Spendelow said: “I am absolutely honoured and excited to develop the "Riki Cycle" Live Recycling Show for selected schools in Luton. I am passionate to deliver the correct Luton Council recycling information working with the waste team especially with the Script. This is also a first creative project for Luton. I have grown up in the town, and I have trained as a Creative Artist. I have performed around the world professionally including the USA, Caribbean, Asia and the Middle East. I am excited to share my artistic skills in my home community”.
The groups and projects that received funding in this year’s round are; 
  • Johanne Hudson-Lett who will bring ‘Beauty of Movement’ to Luton, an outdoor dance/parkour performance accompanied by a series of workshops targeting at-risk boys and young men. 
  • Nicola Moody who will work in collaboration with Parkrun Luton to create three handwoven artworks in response to heart rate, length of stride and distance data generated from participants of Parkrun. 
  • Tangled Feet Theatre Company will deliver a ten week 'Mindfulness and Wellbeing through Theatre' project for up to 60 young people at four schools in Luton. Each week, a timetabled activity session will use mindfulness exercises and drama games to help participants overcome nerves, learn techniques to manage stress, and encourage them to explore their creativity by telling, sharing and performing stories. 
  • Departure Lounge will invite Lutonians to pose for portraits wearing traditional dress with also British/Lutonian modifications, which allow the wearer to remain true to their cultural roots while complying with British work culture, street culture or the class system. Portraits will be exhibited at The Storefront and Wardown Park Museum.
  • Nicole Mollett will create a graphic novel for Luton which will bring together multiple perspectives, based on real-life experiences of people who live in Luton. These hand-drawn stories will offer a window into everyday lives, give a platform for expression of identity, aspiration and hope for the future of Luton.
  • Luton Choral Society was awarded funding for organisational development and will seek to raise their profile to attract more members, especially people from 18 to 50 years old and to improve marketing and publicity to increase the size and diversity of their audiences. 
  • Andy Abbott will invite members of the public to co-create and explore ‘Lutopia’ - an alternative reality version of Luton where the discovery of a common renewable energy source means no one is required to work for a living, and everyone is able to participate in the life of the town. The artwork will take the form of an interactive game and digital installation using VR technology and 360 Video. 
  • Sara Salim will create a series of installations exploring five popular proverbs of the Urdu language that represent the cultural norms, attitudes and thought processes of Pakistani society. The work intends to offer a tactile and humorous experience and an opportunity for individuals to reflect on our mannerisms as a community.
  • Aaron Spendelow will further develop “Riki Cycle”, a new educational experience for children about recycling, touring to 14 Luton primary schools.
The strategic vision for the arts, cultural and creative industries 2017-2027 also includes plans for a bid to become the UK city of culture in 2025. The council’s Executive recently approved a pilot programme centred around the centenary of the 1919 Peace Riots which will demonstrate the transformational power of arts activity and community support and excitement for this bid. 

The Luton Creative Forum is a quarterly event where artists and arts workers in Luton get together to network and share ideas. There are currently over 170 members who, by joining the forum, get to have a say on the future of arts development in Luton. 
Find out more about the Luton Arts fund by visiting

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