First Art Awards: supporting grassroots activities to engage communities

First Art Awards: supporting grassroots activities to engage communities

By Kevin Tennant, First Art


A case study on First Art's award scheme, which supported artists and non-arts organisations to make an artistic offer.

About First Art

First Art is a partnership that links cultural and community organisations working within the former coalfields of North East Derbyshire and North East Nottinghamshire. It is one of 21 Creative People and Places projects across the country, funded by Arts Council England.

First Art Awards

First Art ran an award scheme that welcomed artists and community organisations to bid for money to deliver projects right at the heart of their communities.

We saw this as a way of opening up opportunities for grassroots projects. In an area identified as having fewer opportunities for arts engagement, we felt it was important to give the community a voice. We wanted to nurture existing activity and support groups who needed help to shape ideas and get them off the ground.

We extended our reach by empowering local people to put on their own arts activities with the arms length support of First Art.


Through our award scheme we wanted to:

  • Support non-arts organisations to make an artistic offer
  • Help establish new organisations to deliver an artistic offer
  • Work with artists to create arts commissions in the area
  • Innovate, learn from and share our work
  • Secure the resources to sustain our work

Promoting the scheme

There was a lot of leg work involved in promoting the awards. We spoke to existing contacts that we knew worked with various groups and asked them to spread the word.

We promoted the award scheme through our website and social media and encouraged people to share the information.

Download the case study to read more:
First Art Awards: supporting grassroots activity (PDF)

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Creative People and Places
Resource type: Case studies | Published: 2017