Gloucester Culture Trust and Gloucester City Council have been awarded a £100,000 grant from Historic England as part of the Cathedral Quarter High Streets Heritage Action Zone (HSHAZ) to create and deliver community-led cultural activities on the high street over the next three years.
Cathedral Quarter HSHAZ is one of more than 60 high streets to receive a share of £6 million for their cultural programme. Grants of up to £120,000 have been awarded to local arts organisations for cultural activity on each high street.
In Gloucester’s Westgate a programme of community led arts events is being developed by local people through a consortium of arts organisations including Strike a Light Theatre Co and led by Gloucester Culture Trust. An artist will be in residence in Westgate Street one day per week, for nine months from September, creating art and activities inspired by our Westgate Stories reminiscence project and the history and architecture of the street. Local people will be very much involved in the decision making and creation of the activities and we encourage anyone interested to get in touch.
This is part of the four-year-long High Streets Heritage Action Zones’ Cultural Programme, led by Historic England, in partnership with Arts Council England and the National Lottery Heritage Fund. The Cultural Programme aims to make our high streets more attractive, engaging and vibrant places for people to live, work and spend time.
Culture Minister Caroline Dinenage MP said: “High streets are often the heart of our communities and should be places we all want to engage with and enjoy. These grants will help transform high streets into thriving cultural hubs, encouraging us to embrace all the joys our town centres have to offer.”
Duncan Wilson, Chief Executive, Historic England, said: “The high street cultural programme is a step change in the way we think about bringing high streets back from the brink. As we start to see these important historic spaces become regenerated through building work, it is the community-led cultural work that helps people to enjoy their high street again and also have a say in what the future of their high street might be.”
Cllr Richard Cook, Leader of Gloucester City Council, said: “I am delighted that the Cathedral Quarter Cultural Consortium are sharing their expertise to develop this exciting initiative. Arts and cultural events bring our historical characters, stories, and events to life for people and help us to understand and more deeply engage with our past. In celebrating this we will hopefully reinforce the importance of our historic buildings and sites and how they can contribute to well-being, sense of place and make our city even more attractive to visitors and investors alike.”
The funding builds on the success of a series of pilot cultural projects that have run since last August across 43 High Street Heritage Action Zones. In Westgate Street, last September we saw ‘Interactive Archaeology’, an innovative series of five artworks depicting aspects of Gloucester’s History and archaeology. This programme has not only helped to offer cultural activity during lockdown, but also discovered what local people would like to see happening on their own high streets.
Interactive Archaeology is returning on 16 – 18 July, with a further three pieces of artwork commissioned to extend the trail and engage local people with other aspects of the city’s colourful past. Visit the Cathedral Quarter website www.cathedralquartergloucester.uk to find out more about how to get involved and to see more about the Cathedral Quarter project as a whole.