By David Cutler, Director, The Baring Foundation
I am delighted that the Baring Foundation with our partners the Arts Council of Wales is supporting the Green Ribbon Arts Festival, and would like to spend a few words explaining how we came to this.
For a decade until this January we have been supporting arts organisations working with older people, so working in a London-based organisation it was fascinating to learn about the vibrancy of the arts in Wales from this perspective. This led to our first partnership with the Arts Council of Wales in funding cARTrefu which, over six years, has become one of the world’s largest arts programmes in care homes.
Last year I started researching a new long-term funding programme supporting arts activity engaging people with mental health problems for the Foundation. Unable to find a mapping report for the field, we published Creatively Minded. This described a complex, vibrant but fragmented and stretched sector.
I was struck again by how strong and diverse work is in Wales from discussions with organisations such as Venue Cymru, Four in Four, Community Music Wales, Avant Cymru, and Arts Care / Gofal Celf, among others. The strategic work that the Arts Council of Wales is taking, including by supporting Arts Coordinators in Regional Health Boards, is also putting in place a sound framework not in place elsewhere in the UK.
So, there is much to praise and learn from what is already happening in Wales.
I also felt that across all four nations organisations working in this field had little time or opportunity to interact and learn from each other, so I was very enthusiastic at the opportunity to both showcase work at the Green Ribbon Arts Festival and also learn from each other.
See you there!