The East Contemporary Visual Arts Network (ECVAN) is to receive £600,000 for its New Geographies of the East project in the latest round of Arts Council England’s Ambition for Excellence awards.

ECVAN – which is chaired and coordinated by Cambridge’s Wysing Arts Centre – will be celebrating 10 different places in the East of England through the creation of new artworks.

The three-year New Geographies project hopes to increase audiences for contemporary art, while also offering support and development for artists and curators.

Working with partners in the Netherlands –  The Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten; Casco – Office for Art, Design and Theory; and If I Can’t Dance, I Don’t Want to be Part of Your Revolution – New Geographies will be jointly delivered by nine arts organisations across the region, including Firstsite, Colchester; Focal Point Gallery, Southend; Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge; and UH Galleries, University of Hertfordshire.

Donna Lynas, director, Wysing Arts Centre and ECVAN chair, said: “The Contemporary Visual Arts Network in the East of England has been working together since 2009, and together with new community and international partners, we are thrilled that Ambition for Excellence funding will enable our work to move onto a whole new level of ambition.

“It will allow us to support some of the most exciting contemporary art and artists in reaching unexpected spaces and places across the region.”

Hull and its Surroundings

Two other organisations have been awarded Ambition for Excellence funding in this latest round, with the money intended to help ‘stimulate and support ambition, talent and excellence across the country’.

Hull Culture and Leisure will receive £547,400 for ‘Surroundings’, a programme produced by the Humber Museums Partnership, in partnership with arts and science organisation Invisible Dust.

Coinciding with the Hull 2017 UK City of Culture, the project will see 16 museums in the area commissioning international public art with an environmental theme, a young curator’s project, residencies, plus exhibitions.

Cambridge Junction is the recipient of £498,500 for a three-year national talent development programme from Live Art UK. ‘Diverse Actions’ will focus on black and minority ethnic artists, helping to develop and tour new work. It will also help to promote national discussions around cultural diversity.

Alison Clark, national director, combined arts and programme lead at Ambition for Excellence, said: “These awards will develop work of exceptional quality across the country while building the strong networks necessary to continue and amplify that work over time.”

ACE has committed a total of £35.2 million to the overall programme, which launched in May 2015 and will run until 27 October 2017. The Arts Council has also said that 80-90% of the fund will be committed outside London. This is to support its target of a minimum of 75% of lottery funding be committed outside the capital by 2018.

1. Mike Cameron, Space-Time Festival at Wysing Arts Centre, 2014

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