New arts festivals in Cornwall and the Thames Estuary area are among the six initiatives funded by Arts Council England in the £3m second round of the Ambition for Excellence programme.

Cornwall-based visual arts organisation the Cornubian Arts and Science Trust (CAST) will use its £500,000 award for GROUNDWORK, a three-year contemporary art programme culminating in an international arts festival in the area. The money will help fund a programme of commissioned field trips and sited works during 2016 and 2017, building towards the festival in 2018.

In a statement released via its Facebook page, CAST said: “We are very excited to win this major award, which builds on the strong working relationships with artists based in Cornwall and with cultural organisations including Newlyn Art Gallery and The Exchange, Kestle Barton and Tate St Ives.”

CAST executive chair Teresa Gleadowe added: “The award will allow CAST and its partners to work with outstanding international artists and to develop projects that will make links with Cornwall’s rich social, economic, geological and artistic history as well as its contemporary cultural life, encouraging national and international connection and exchange.”

The ‘artistic laboratory’ Metal will use its award of £277,500 to create Estuary – a new biennial arts festival that will celebrate the Thames Estuary. From 17 September to 2 October 2016, the programme of contemporary art, literature, film and music will see 150 artists working in partnership with Estuarine communities to develop and present their work.

A wide variety of venues for Estuary have already been confirmed, including: Tilbury Cruise Terminal, Coalhouse Fort and High House Production Park in Thurrock, plus various venues in Gravesend including Point Gallery and the ‘Worlds Longest Pier’ in Southend-on-Sea.

Colette Bailey, Metal’s artistic director and CEO, said: “The Ambition for Excellence award will be instrumental in enabling us to work with communities, agencies and artists from around the world to commission a world-class programme of new and existing works of art. A key focus of Metal is the celebration of place and communities through the lens of contemporary art. Estuary will be our largest project of this nature to date.”

The other recipients are: The Lowry (awarded £749,948), Bradford Literature Festival (£495,000), Young Vic (£250,000) and Blackpool Grand Theatre in partnership with LeftCoast (£680,000).

Alison Clark from Ambition for Excellence said: “All of the projects will make a real difference to talent development and to the range and quality of work available to audiences and communities across the country.

“Our investment will also ensure that these organisations and the artists they work with have substantial international dimensions, helping to support UK’s status as a place for cultural innovation.”

More on

Ambition for Excellence fund awards £1.1m to support talent in the regions