Arts Council England
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Building a brighter Black Country

In October, we announced the organisations offered funding through our 2023-26 Investment Programme, benefiting arts organisations, museums, and libraries in every corner of the Midlands - from Bilston to Wolverhampton and Dudley to Sandwell

As part of our new National Portfolio 2022-26, we want more people in more places have access to fantastic art and culture on their doorsteps, and we’re investing £11.5 million to support 12 Black Country organisations across the Black Country. This forms part of our longer-term plan to invest more money in the region as part of the Levelling Up for Culture priority, to increase investment and engagement in the arts and creativity.

A cast of five is stood on stage. Front and centre is a man playing a saxophone.

Photo by Occasionally We Skype by Black Country Touring and Sonia Sabri Company. Image © Simon Richardson.

Joining the portfolio are five organisations which will receive regular funding for the first time:

  • Gazebo – one of the longest serving Theatre in Education companies in the country, they deliver innovative theatre productions and arts programmes for children and young people, schools and communities, including specific workshops, short films, residencies and dramatherapy.
  • Jaivant Patel Dance is an international arts organisation founded in Wolverhampton which uses South Asian dance to influence the creation of contemporary work for diverse audiences across the UK and in the Black Country.
  • Powered by CAN is a creative, cultural and community organisation based in West Bromwich. Working to generate change for children and young people in the area, in everyday spaces including community centres, libraries, schools, shopping centres, streets and parks, offering training, masterclasses, workshops and performance opportunities.
  • Spectra Arts is a neurodiverse, multidisciplinary arts company which brings inclusive and sensory experiences to the creation of theatre, film and installation. Based in Smethwick, their work is rooted in accessibility, developed with a collective of local neurodivergent artists and performers.
  • The People’s Orchestra works with communities across the Midlands, making and performing music which inspires, educates and brings about positive change. Based in Sandwell, they work in a range of settings from local care homes to international exchange programmes, running community choirs and a work placement programme which has assisted almost 1,000 people into work.

A character actor dressed in 1940s clothing sells newspapers at the Black Country Living Museum

Photo by VE Day Victory Park Newspaper Seller c. BCLM

We’ve also increased our support venues for like Newhampton Arts Centre, New Art Gallery Walsall and Wolverhampton Art Gallery, as well as community organisations including Black Country Touring and Multistory. The Black Country Living Museum will also receive increased investment to work with more local schools and communities as part of their Forging Ahead project documenting the region and its colourful history.

Putting people at the heart of creativity, we also invest in Creative Black Country, part of our wider Creative People and Places programme, who work with local people to explore and develop new projects which matter to them, including Cosy Communities, bringing people together in the winter months.

Brightly coloured knitted artwork - bunting and signs - part of Creative Black Country's Cosy Communities project

Photo by c. Creative Black Country

Peter Knott, Midland Area Director for Arts Council England, yesterday said:

“With our increased investment in the Black Country over the next three years, we want to make sure that even more people can share in the benefits of great arts, creativity and culture.

“It’s our job at Arts Council England to make sure everyone can feel the joy of culture in their lives – especially in challenging times - and we look forward to working with the people of the Black Country to do just that.”

For more information

Read more about our National Portfolio here: 2023-26 Investment Programme

See what other funding opportunities we offer:


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