TAH receives The Award for Civic Arts Organisations 2022

We are thrilled to announce...

We are thrilled to announce that The Art House is the main recipient of The Award for Civic Arts Organisations 2022!

The second edition of this prestigious annual Award, founded by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation (UK Branch), in partnership with King’s College London, received more than 200 applications from across the UK and The Art House will receive £100,000 for our agility in responding to the needs of the local community and putting co-creation at the centre of our work during the pandemic.

During the pandemic, we delivered a far-reaching, holistic – and above all, creative – response to support the myriad, often urgent, needs of artists and members of our local communities. This included: providing grants and commissions totalling more than £300,000 to locally-based artists and creative businesses who were unable to access government-led schemes; repurposing its interim-use spaces for food distribution; partnering with three local charities to house an emergency mental health drop-in service and NHS peri-natal mental health sessions; creating and distributing 1000 handmade activity boxes for local families; as well as planting 1000 sunflowers to cheer up passers-by.

A word from our CEO/Artistic Director, Sydney Thornbury:

At The Art House we believe that creativity can empower people and transform communities, and that it is everyone’s birth right to have access to it. Arts organisations have more power to create social impact than maybe they realise. We sit at the centre of our communities and can create a space where people from quite disparate backgrounds can come together and join in a shared experience. That matters.

Our leaders and workforce are bright, entrepreneurial, lateral thinkers who can bring a fresh approach to entrenched problems. That matters too.  And I have seen the positive changes that engagement with the arts can make to people’s lives and wellbeing, which might be the thing that matters most of all. The work that arts organisations do in the community is not the icing on the cake, it is the cake. 

The Art House is deeply honoured to be the main awardee of the 2021 Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation Award for Civic Arts Organisations.  It is a great validation of the work The Art House is doing and a tribute to all of the amazing people who engage with us and whom we consider part of our extended family. 

Thank you. The Art House is a home for us all, and together we will continue to create community, as well as art.”


Comments from Baroness Bull (Deborah Bull), Vice President (Communities & National Engagement) and Senior Advisory Fellow for Culture, King’s College London:

“[The £100,000 Award for Civic Arts Organisations] goes to an organisation that impressed the entire panel with its unswerving commitment to co-creation, to developing skills and creativity with local communities, to championing diverse voices, to dissolving barriers between art and social impact. And with a clear and inspirational vision for a future in which they told us we don’t know how far this experiment can go, but we’re never going back to where we were.” 

Watch the ceremony

The video below will start at the moment The Art House is announced as the recipient of the main award. We thoroughly recommend watching the whole ceremony if you can. The work of our fellow shortlisted organisations is inspirational.


Header Image: David Lindsay

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