Hearts For The Arts Awards Presented

Hearts For The Arts Awards Presented at the LGA Culture, Sport and Tourism Conference in Hull

Today, Lorna Lee, winner of Best Local Authority Arts Champion – Officer; and Plymouth City Council, winner of Best Local Authority Arts Initiative for their project I.AM.NOT.A.ROBOT, will be presented with their Hearts for the Arts Awards in front of the largest gathering of councillors and officers involved with culture, tourism and sport.

Presenting the awards, Samuel West, Actor, Director and Chair of National Campaign for the Arts (NCA) said:

“Hearts for the Arts is a celebration, a chance to heap praise on the exceptional people who champion the arts as a life-enriching force for good. These two awards are richly deserved.”

“It’s wonderful to be able to recognise the dedication of Lorna Lee, whose tenacity and tireless work in Waltham Forest has been richly praised by all around her (and has helped make her Council the inaugural London Borough of Culture).”

“I.AM.NOT.A.ROBOT is a great example of how imagination and innovation can be the key to unlock our emotional engagement. Congratulations to everyone involved, especially the five young people who conceived and designed it.”

Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson, Chair of the LGA’s Culture, Tourism and Sport Board, said:

“Councils continue to be the biggest investors in arts and culture despite a challenging financial climate, in recognition of the value they bring to communities across the country.

“The outstanding work by Lorna Lee in Waltham Forest shows what can be achieved, and is also reflected in the recent announcement of Waltham Forest as the first London Borough of Culture, in 2019.

“The innovative project by Plymouth City Council is also a worthy winner in its approach towards one of the biggest challenges facing local government – the recruitment of new foster carers.

“These awards highlight the positive impact that arts and culture can have on our local areas, and what can be accomplished by the talented and creative people working in our councils.”

About Lorna Lee, winner of Best Local Authority Arts Champion

As Head of Culture and Heritage Services at London Borough of Waltham Forest, Lorna oversaw a £5m refurbishment of the William Morris Gallery from 2011-2012. The borough’s cultural hub is the only public space devoted the life, work and legacy of William Morris.

Following the gallery’s reopening in August 2012, visitor numbers soared from 20,000 to 120,000 per year. It was subsequently named Art Fund Museum of the Year in 2013, nominated for European Museum of the Year in 2014, and become an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation in 2014.

Lorna built on this success by securing investment for other cultural and heritage activity through Heritage Lottery Fund’s Priority Places scheme.

About Plymouth, winner of Best Local Authority Arts Initiative for I.AM.NOT.A.ROBOT

I.AM.NOT.A.ROBOT is an artwork and social-marketing campaign to encourage more people to consider becoming a foster carer, conceived and designed by five young people aged 12 to 17 who are currently in care.

They worked with professional artists and University students over the holidays to train as artists and curators, and to develop their ideas for the show. The project is a partnership between Plymouth City Council, local arts charity Effervescent, The Big Lottery Fund, Arts Council England and Plymouth University.

The award ceremonies for the two further winners of this year’s Hearts for the Arts Awards - Councillor Cliff Morris of Bolton Council and Denbighshire County Council's 'Lost in Art' - will take place at their local council meetings later in the year.

The NCA Hearts For The Arts Awards is an initiative created to thank and celebrate the work of Councils, Councillors and Council Officers who have overcome financial challenges to ensure the arts stay at the centre of community life. This year the campaign received more nominations than ever before and from all four UK nations.

The nominations were judged by an esteemed panel which was comprised of: Samuel West (Chair of the NCA), Rachel Wood (Arts Development Officer, Oldham Borough Council AND 2017 winner), Roy Williams, OBE (Playwright and NCA Board Member), Phillip Pullman (Author), David Lan (Playwright and Director), Josie Long (Comedian) and Maria Balshaw (Director of Tate).

The National Campaign for the Arts' Hearts for the Arts Awards are delivered by UK Theatre in partnership with What Next?, Culture Counts, Arts Development UK and the Local Government Association.

Photographer: Karl Andre Photography

Left to right

Lorna Lee, Head of Cultural and Heritage Services, Waltham Forest Council – Winner of Hearts for the Arts Award for Best Local Authority Arts Champion – Officer; Samuel West, Actor, Director, Chair of the National Campaign for the Arts; Stuart Davis, Marketing and Recruitment Officer, Children, Young People and Families - representing Plymouth City Council for their Hearts for the Arts Awards for Best Local Authority Arts Initiative: I.AM.NOT.A.ROBOT; Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson, CBE, Chair of the LGA’s Culture, Tourism & Sport Board.

Date Published: 08 March 2018
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