LeftCoast announces arts development opportunities

LeftCoast Golden Section Event

There is a saying, ‘Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day, teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime.’ I rather like that, and I rather like that Blackpool and Wyre’s arts initiative, LeftCoast, is giving the chance to get fishing lessons to the region’s creative community! (I should point out, not actual fishing lessons, that is unless you can increase your creative skill set and engage the wider community by a project involving fishing!)

So before we get the nitty gritty of how to apply for the funding, a little about LeftCoast I think may be in order. LeftCoast is the final and now active incarnation of the consortium that is facilitating the £3m pounds that Blackpool and Wyre won for the arts a little while back. Like an arts-based Doctor Who, LeftCoast has had a few different faces, these include Playground of Wonders and Creative People and Places before finally becoming LeftCoast.

One of its main aims is ‘to explore the gap between art and entertainment’. One of the ways it is addressing this objective is by facilitating the training of fully rounded creative practitioners and the creation of self-sustaining arts projects for an initial six month period. What this essentially means is, if you are a creative practitioner living and working in Blackpool and Wyre, LeftCoast is offering a number of funding opportunities to help fill in those skill set gaps that are stopping you from moving forwards in your practice, and opportunities for engaging the wider community in the arts through new creative projects.

This takes the form of two funding projects, Future Popular and LeftCoast Express. LeftCoast Express seeks to create the more rounded creative by helping them to plug gaps in their practice with appropriate self-directed training and research sessions. Future Popular, on the other hand, seeks to create arts-based projects to take into the wider community.

The first Golden Section meeting at the FYC this week was a great chance to meet the organisers of LeftCoast and to talk about what the two projects were about. The gallery space at FYC was jam-packed, and it was nice to see a large number of new faces attending, rather than the usual suspects of more established arts workers. The questions raised ranged from quite specific funding issues to more general points of ‘what kind of thing are you looking for?’ The answer: ‘anything’.

The freedom to explore what individuals or groups would like to do to engage with a minimum of fifty non arts members of the community is the project’s main strength I would say. The six projects that are chosen for Future Popular promise to be eclectic indeed if the mix of people who attended the meeting is anything to go by.

Other opportunities were highlighted including three soon to be highly fought over arts jobs within the LeftCoast team. Exciting times indeed.

The deadline for LeftCoast Express is looming at the end of the month, while the Future Popular project has another five weeks until the final deadline. So thinking caps on and head over to LeftCoast and download the very simple application form and all the FAQ that you could require.

This really is a great opportunity for creative folks working in Blackpool and Wyre. With LeftCoast now firmly moving forward with its aims, Blackpool really is one of the best places in the country to be for personal arts development, which is a statement many would never think to hear.

For more information about Leftcoast or to download information about any of the opportunities go online to leftcoast.org.uk. You can also Like LeftCoast on Facebook or follow them on Twitter: @LeftCoastUK.

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