With socially distanced live performances now approved by Government, Liverpool City Council and Arts Council England have announced a £200,000 pilot project to fund performing and visual art in the city’s streets.
The council said that this represents the next phase of the Liverpool Without Walls project, which was started in June with support for the hospitality sector in reimagining outdoor dining – working with Arup, Castle Street and Bold Street have been pedestrianised for the summer.
The new strand of the project will offer grants of up to £5,000 to artists who can create work that can be presented in the city centre over the coming months, as cities look to cautiously encourage people to return to spending more time in the city, supporting its retailers and leisure operators as they look to recover from the damage inflicted by the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown.
Liverpool’s deputy mayor and cabinet member for culture, tourism and events, Cllr Wendy Simon, said: “The cultural and arts sector has been hit as hard as anyone by this crisis. Naturally our long-term aim is to help organisations reopen their venues safely, but in the meantime we wanted to find a way for our artistic community to create and perform elsewhere.
“By giving artists and performers a lifeline to create new work, while also attracting people into the city centre again, this project is a real win-win.”
Director of the Liverpool Biennial, Fatoş Ustek, said: “Without Covid-19, this would have been the first week of the 11th Liverpool Biennial. Thousands of people from around the world would have been visiting Liverpool, engaging with an international array of artists and artworks.
“The fact that isn’t happening is disappointing – yet necessary given the current circumstances. Liverpool Without Walls and the fund is timely and poignant. Through this initiative, we can stimulate engagement and activation of our streets, charged with art and a wide spectrum of cultural events.
“The arts and culture sector in Liverpool is strong and resilient. I believe we will be encountering many special artworks and performances as part of the Liverpool Without Walls fund.”
The application form for the project can be found online.