What does the Arts Council do?
The Isle of Man Arts Council was set up 30 years ago to support the work of local amateurs and professionals as well as visiting artists; it funds many organisations and offers advice and information to hundreds of people every year,encouraging and enabling participation and development in all aspects of the arts.
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The Arts Council promotes visits by major companies and orchestras. July 2008 brought the return of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra for a weekend of outstanding music, in celebration of the Island's links with Liverpool and its status as European Capital of Culture 2008. In 2007 the Hallé visited the Island for two concerts and in July 2006 the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra’s visit started with a week’s residency, including youth orchestra coaching and community events, and culminated with two major concerts in the Villa Marina—the Orchestra’s programme included singers from the Island’s many choirs joining together to form a massed choir to sing Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana.
Arts in Education: is a key element of the Arts Council’s work, with many school-based workshops encouraging dance, drama, creative writing and crafts and free tickets for schoolchildren to attend matinee performances by visiting companies.
Major Public Artworks commissioned by the Arts Council include: The Viking at the Erin Arts Centre and the RNLI Memorial, in the sunken gardens on Douglas Promenade, both by Michael Sandle; the plaque on the Villa Marina of Henry Bloom Noble, one of the Island’s greatest benefactors, and the Three Legs for the frontage of the new Noble's Hospital, both by Bryan Kneale RA FRBS RWA. The Three Legs of Mann at the Airport, the bust of Victorian writer Hall Caine in the Summerhill Gardens, The Watcher outside the Manx Museum and Captain Quilliam (the man who steered The Victory at Trafalgar) at Castle Rushen are also by Bryan Kneale. Stunning examples of stained glass include windows designed by James Hogan in The Church of Our Lady Star of the Sea and St Maughold, Ramsey—a church designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott—and don’t miss the windows by Harry Clarke at St Mary’s Catholic Church in Castletown.
The Arts Council’s work in Community Arts in 2007 brought the Found Theatre production of 'Hound of the Baskervilles' to Peel Castle. The four sell-out performances were preceded by a week of community workshops such as circus skills, stage fighting, character building, with participants acting out their roles in a Victorian Fair in the grounds of St Peter’s Church in Peel as a prelude to the play-proper. 2005 included a major project based in Port Erin and entitled WIRE & WOOL, Life in the Women’s Internment Camp. Stories were gathered from many people who remembered the WWII women’s internment camp in Port Erin and Port St Mary and these were woven into a promenade play. Over 40 local adults and children were in the cast who performed to over 350 people on two separate evenings in August. Exhibitions of the research and artefacts were held in the Erin Arts Centre and Manx Museum. All the research for this project is now archived in the Manx Museum and many of the stories are archived on the People’s War BBC Website.
For Modern Art, in 1993 the Arts Council started the Contemporary Art Loan Collection, a superb collection of contemporary prints, as a way to bring contemporary art into the every day life of the Island’s schoolchildren. The collection is now one of the foremost loan collections in the British Isles and comprises over 300 prints by artists as varied as Anthony Gormley, Patrick Heron, Gordon House, Pablo Picasso, Elisabeth Frink, Terry Frost, Graham Sutherland and David Hockney, as well as many Manx artists. Displayed in virtually all the schools on the Island and in many public buildings they act as a catalyst for discussion and discovery.
For Film The Erin Arts Centre and the Centenary Centre in Peel have film clubs and the Arts Council supports a film each season. These initiatives have broadened the choice of films available on the Island. 2009 saw the third annual Film Festival take place. This included outdoor film screenings, a Short Film Competition, foreign and documentary film evenings and the Young Filmmaker of Mann Competition.
The Noble Healing Arts Programme at Noble’s Hospital is another initiative from the Arts Council, achieved in partnership with the Department of Health & Social Security. This ‘arts in healthcare’ programme has already provided the hospital with a rolling programme of exhibitions, musical events and a major new sculpture commission.
The Isle of Man Poetry Society and various writers groups help to nurture a strong tradition of Creative Writing on the Island. Support from the Arts Council has enabled the Poetry Society to publish an anthology of local poets entitled ‘This Island Now’ edited by Jeff Garland. The Council also supported the Publication of the novel ‘Amaryllis Tontine’ by local writer Denys Drower. These books are published by Lily Publications and available in local bookstores.
Ongoing events include the Arts Council Literature Festival, the Piano Subscription Series, the Film Season at the Palace Cinema and the Young Filmmaker of Mann Competition which is open to groups and individuals under 23 years of age who are resident on the Isle of Man.
Various Arts Council funding forms, a list of dance and drama teachers, a directory of music-making, development strategy, etc. are available for download from our Arts in the Community page.
|The current Members of the Arts Council:|