The funding will be transferred by the council to the Games Organising Committee (OC) as part of the Creative Communities Grants Programme – which will see at least 110 small grants of between £10,000 and £20,000 delivered to Birmingham-based groups to create artistic projects across the city.
As part of the Commonwealth Games celebrations in 2022, the OC will be delivering a six-month cultural festival across Birmingham and the West Midlands from March to September 2022.
The festival aims to promote and showcase the rich and diverse creative talent of the city and region to a global audience – and to support the local cultural economy to not only recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, but to grow and thrive in the future. It will also provide a key opportunity for Birmingham residents to come together by directly engaging with and participating in the activities surrounding the Games, as artworks, events and performances occupy the high streets, neighbourhoods, parks, waterways, venues and civic spaces of the city over a six-month period.
The £2 million from Birmingham City Council for the grants programme to support the delivery of the festival will help connect Birmingham residents and communities of all ages from every ward of the city with artists to co-create new art works and projects.
Cllr Jayne Francis, Cabinet Member for Education, Skills and Culture at Birmingham City Council, said: “We always said the Games are more than 11 days of fantastic sporting competition. The festival programme is clear evidence of this and a great way for the Proud Host City and other Games Partners to widen the relevance of the event to as many people in the city and region.
“These grants will enable groups and organisations with roots in Birmingham to showcase the very best of the city’s creativity to an international audience, and prove what we have always known – Birmingham is a great place in which to live, work or visit.
“As we look to recover from the devastation and tragedy that the coronavirus pandemic has caused people and businesses in the city, this fund will help support a hard-hit creative sector and give us a programme of events to look forward to in less than two years’ time.”
Separately, the city council has set aside £80,000 to support 20 arts groups to develop proposals that will enable them to take advantage of the £2million fund.
Martin Green CBE, Chief Creative Officer of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games said: “Birmingham City Council’s fantastic commitment to the Games culture programme means that the city's communities will be centre stage. It is timely, welcome news, and will provide important opportunities to a creative sector facing incredibly uncertain times.
“The projects commissioned through the Creative Communities Grants Programme will see the work of residents and organisations from across the city standing proudly and equally next to that of major cultural and artistic institutions from across the region.”
The £2million set for Cabinet approval is one-third of an overall city council fund of £6million, approved in the 2020/21 council budget, designed to support Commonwealth Games community engagement, involvement and legacy programmes for Birmingham residents. Further details on the remaining £4million (which includes a £2million funding package to be distributed amongst the council’s 69 Wards) will be announced in the coming months – along with more information on how organisations can bid for the Creative Communities grants.