ACE’s £12.3m for small enterprises

Arts Council England has announced the 46 organisations, from the Onion Collective in West Somerset to the Gecko Theatre in Ipswich, that will share £12.3m in the latest round of Small Capital Grants.

It is the second round of funding since the Small Grants Fund was set up last year, and is worth £1m more than the first round, with individual grants worth between £100,000 and £499,999.

The programme was devised as a successor to ACE’s strategic capital programme which ran for six years, dispersing National Lottery funding to capital development. Grants have gone across the spectrum of arts organisations, including combined arts, dance, literature, music, theatre and visual arts.

The Onion Collective on Watchet’s quayside has been awarded £389,000 will use the money to help expand its art gallery, create an education space and increased workshop and studio space (pictured above). Also on the waterfront but in Ipswich, the physical theatre company Gecko Theatre gets £499.999 towards transform a disused industrial building into the Gecko Creation Space (main image).

As further examples, in London Drake Music will use its £100,000 grant to establish the world’s first accessible instrument collection to allow disabled people to make music at whatever level; MAC, Birmingham’s Midlands Art Centre, has £400,000 to create new artists’ studios with a focus on environmental sustainability. 

And Invisible Flock, the ten-year-old Leeds-based interactive art studio, has been awarded £220,000 in the scheme to invest in digital tools, residencies, workshops and partnerships. “Cutting edge technical equipment remains extremely costly and at arms-length for the majority of artists” says Victoria Pratt, its creative director. “There is a serious socio-economic barrier to innovation in the cost of new technologies that particularly restricts artists at early stages of their career and means that new methods and models of storytelling lie in the hands of a select few”.

 “Our Small Capital Grants programme provides organisations with vital funding to ensure that their buildings and equipment can adequately support their work” said Darren Henley, ACE’s chief executive. “I’m delighted that we’re able to help organisations of all sizes from across the country develop more sustainable and resilient businesses through these grants, allowing them to produce even more excellent work for the public.”


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