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Heart Of Glass
Tuesday 28th May, 2013 - 13:14

SAINTS will be working with some of the biggest names in St Helens on an exciting new arts project.

The Heart of Glass project, led by the Saints Community Development Foundation, will use both Rugby League and glass - the two strong cultural identities of the town - as starting points to create arts experiences to inspire local people.

The projects are being delivered by consortia and partners which include arts organisations, museums, libraries, local authorities and commercial organisations working in collaboration with the local community, grass roots organisations and the amateur sector.

The Heart of Glass will use the arts to celebrate what is distinct about St Helens and will build on the success of Dream, the Big Art commission by Jaume Plensa.

The project will engage more than 50,000 local people through the Saints Community Development Foundation network. There will also be a programme of arts activity and events in the town centre and neighbouring locations. The programmes will enable local people who live in the town centre or congregate in the town centre to commission exciting and innovative work that will attract other St Helens residents to take part in the arts.

Gordon Pennington, Director of Saints Community Development Foundation, said: "Rugby League and glass is the cultural heartbeat of our community and we simply can't wait to start this project with our partners."

Alan Davey, Chief Executive, Arts Council England, added: "Creative people and places is unique because, for the first time, the doors are thrown wide open to communities, and, amongst others, to amateur and voluntary groups. We're asking them to get involved in creating arts activities they know they'll enjoy.

"There are some great ideas coming through which I hope will really whet the appetites of people who, up to now, haven't felt the arts are for them."

Here is what the project partners said about The Heart of Glass:

Jane Beardsworth, North West Regional Director, Arts Council England said: "Our Creative people and places fund takes a new approach by allowing communities and grass roots organisations to play a leading part in inspiring others to get involved with the arts. We're delighted to offer an award to Saints Community Development Foundation and their partners Helena Partnerships, St Helens Arts Partnership, St Helens Council and FACT.

"Together, they will deliver a programme of arts events and activities that will celebrate what is distinct about St Helens and will build on the success of Dream, the town's celebrated piece of public art."

Mike Stubbs, FACT Director: "FACT are delighted to be part of the Heart of Glass. We are thrilled to be working with such a passionate team in St Helens who are eager to see creativity and a high quality arts offer become part of local life in St Helens through this investment and support from Arts Council England."

Andy Cave of Helena Partnerships, said: "Helena Partnerships is delighted that this bid has been successful, not just for St.Helens, but for the opportunities for our tenants and residents to get involved as well. We have been involved in backing the bid from the start and look forward to working with the other consortium members to create a Heart of Glass".

A spokesperson for the Citadel said: "The Citadel is looking forward to working with project partners, St Helens residents and the local, national and international arts community to deliver the hugely exciting Heart of Glass programme for St Helens' Fay Lamb, Chief Executive, Citadel Arts Centre."

Dr Jeremy Sleith, Head of Service, St.Helens Council Music Service: "The potential to bring world class art and artists to St Helens through this funding is a fantastic opportunity for everyone living and working in our borough. The Council Music Service and St.Helens Music Education Hub are excited by the prospects this project holds for all people, both young and old, in developing their creativity and artistic flair over the next three years.

"Our hope is that Heart of Glass will invest in the skills of artists based in & around the area, encouraging a flourishing cultural community within the town over the next three years and beyond."

Ron Helsby of the World of Glass, said: "This is an exciting project which will continue the rich tapestry of arts in St. Helens. We are looking forward to working in partnership with the ‘Heart of Glass' team to develop a broad programme for our community."

Cabinet Member for Public Health and Well-being, Councillor Gareth Cross, said: "St Helens Council is a partner in the consortium and I am delighted to build on the legacy of Dream. It will bring other international artists to the town to enable local people to take part in high quality arts which, in turn, raises the profile of the town as a distinct town, celebrating its uniqueness through the arts.

"In turn this will also provide opportunities for both the local arts community and general public to get involved in this very worthwhile project."