Leeds has announced a £35m six-year investment programme, culminating in a year-long celebration of the city’s diverse cultures in 2023.
The announcement today (Wednesday, January 31) reiterated the city’s commitment to continuing the energy and momentum created by the Leeds 2023 bid for European Capital of Culture, creating a strong and meaningful legacy across the whole city, which will retain a strong international focus celebrating the city’s diverse communities
The Council will work with partners including Arts Council England and the private sector, to build a £35m fund for the programme, showcasing Leeds to the world as an outward looking, modern and innovative city, and deliver on the city’s promise to create an opportunity for the whole city which will be enjoyed across all 33 wards.
Councillor Judith Blake, Leader of Leeds City Council and Sharon Watson, Chair of the 2023 Independent Steering Group, revealed how the plans outlined in the city’s bid book document will be moved forward, following the European Commission’s shock move to cancel the 2023 European Capital of Culture competition.
A number of the exciting announcements were made to an audience of more than 600 people at Leeds Town Hall which included:
- a major new collaborative sculpture project ‘Yorkshire Sculpture International’ featuring work by renowned international sculptors, public realm commissions and an engagement programme, delivered by Yorkshire Sculpture Triangle (Leeds Art Gallery, Henry Moore Institute, The Hepworth Wakefield and Yorkshire Sculpture Park) to take place in 2019, and again in 2023;
- the launch of the Leeds Peoples Theatre, which will create a huge outdoor community performance in 2020, and again in 2023;
- the Leeds Lighthouse, which has now secured an in-principal agreement with a local business to support its full costs;
Cllr Blake said: “Undoubtedly it was a huge blow when Leeds was denied the chance to bid to become European Capital of Culture in 2023. However, we have been determined not to see the unprecedented enthusiasm and energy which has built behind the bid go to waste and to create a strong and meaningful legacy across the whole city.
“The bid was a tremendous catalyst for a whole new cultural conversation across our city which in turn has sparked some incredibly original and inventive ideas from across our communities, artists, businesses and the public.
“We want to keep that momentum going and this cultural programme, a direct legacy of our bid, will see many of the ideas submitted in the Leeds 2023 bid brought together and channeled into a new and unique celebration of Leeds which will give the best of the city’s culture a chance to shine on a stage it deserves.”