ArtReach makes great art possible and accessible.
ArtReach is a not-for-profit, contemporary arts development agency, led by ArtReach (Trust) Ltd, that connects art with grass roots and diverse communities to forge creative engagement.
ArtReach – A Brief History
ArtReach began life in the late 1990’s as a sole trader “arts fundraising” business supporting the work of theatre director, David Hill. David established the company formally in response to being contracted to manage the capital project (£8.5 million) and direct the development of the new Norden Farm Centre for the Arts in Maidenhead which opened in 2000.
From a Maidenhead base, ArtReach successfully led development work on several major capital cultural projects, including The Peepul Centre in Leicester, the New Art Exchange and PRIMARY in Nottingham, the Cornerstone in Didcot and the Curzon Community Cinema heritage restoration in Clevedon, Somerset.
From 2004 ArtReach started to develop a strong reputation for Festival, event and public art delivery. ArtReach led the £2.5 million Three Cities Create and Connect project in the East Midlands, establishing its Leicester office base at LCB Depot. It commissioned international artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer to create the world-leading UnderScan installation, which ArtReach produced in six cities culminating in Trafalgar Square, London.
In 2010 ArtReach launched Night of Festivals, working initially in partnership with six Latin American Embassies in London. The Festival has now been delivered through fifteen Editions in seven different locations, including an iconic event at Tower Bridge, London, to mark the opening of the Rio Olympics. Night of Festivals was also part of the London 2012 Festival programme.
Journeys Festival International was initiated in Leicester in 2013 and is now delivered annually in Leicester, Manchester and Portsmouth. Since 2015 ArtReach has built extensive European cultural partnerships and led three major collaborative projects with organisations in Hamburg, Rome, Palermo, Budapest, Sofia and Sibiu. The company’s main base is now in Leicester.
In 2018 ArtReach was successful in applying to Creative Europe to lead a three year, pan-European, project called LIBERTY EU. LIBERTY EU is an exciting international arts programme exploring and celebrating freedom, led by ArtReach. Liberty EU is an ambitious and innovative creative response to current challenges facing the European Union. In 2018, ArtReach, the Lead Partner for the project, was the only UK organisation to receive funding on this scale from Creative Europe. They will be teaming up with eleven other arts organisations representing ten European countries from; Germany, Italy, Romania, Denmark, Serbia, France, Slovenia, Hungary and Belgium.
In 2020, in partnership with Leicester City Council and BID Leicester, ArtReach led event management and artistic programming for the incredibly successful Light Up Leicester event. Light up Leicester filled the city centre with interactive illuminations and received over 60,000 visitors over four days and is set to return in 2022.
Also, in 2020, in response to a shifting political climate in the UK and across Europe the long standing Night of Festivals was rebranded as Liberty UK Festival. Liberty UK is a pop-up festival exploring the themes of Freedom and Democracy, produced by ArtReach. Previously known as Night of Festivals which has a 10-year history of popping up in towns and cities across the UK celebrating themes of freedom and democracy from around the world. Liberty UK is inspired by ideas of Freedom; Democracy; Solidarity and Unity; and will bring a new approach to the values of celebrating ‘Freedom and Democracy’ for the new decade ahead.
2020 also witnessed the first ever fully digital version of Journeys Festival International, with the three cities of Leicester, Manchester and Portsmouth combining programming and events into one online three week festival.
ArtReach is part of the Arts Council England NPO portfolio and has four key strands of activity: