An organisation is celebrating 25 years of bringing arts and culture to the Tees Valley.
In 1982 Cleveland Arts was set up to develop and encourage the arts in the County.
Known as Tees Valley Arts since 2003, the organisation works in partnership with the five local authorities using the arts to address issues of aspiration and achievement, heritage and environment, regeneration, and cultural diversity and well-being.
Recent projects it has brought to the area include Gallery TS1, aimed at inspiring unemployed young people to create and sell their own arts and crafts; the evolve programme in schools to promote and raise attainment in science through creative teaching; and WinterFest, a music festival with performers from around the world.
Among its new projects is a landscape feature for the A66, being designed with award-winning innovative architect Ian McChesney.
Rosi Lister has been Executive Director at Tees Valley Arts for the past two years.
She commented: “We are essentially a cultural education agency focused on developing high profile programmes of work with sustainable funding for young people and we’re currently developing a regenerational cultural E2E style programme that will involve apprenticeships and apply to people who are not in education or employment.
“We are also very interested in developing lots of activities at the moment to support the arts and creative industries.
“We are currently doing some very exciting work with the universities in the North-east and we are hoping to work with other arts across the region to help design and deliver a sustained programme of high level skills for arts and creative professionals that will include business and enterprise support and also develop a programme for artists who wish to develop their skills in the social agenda – working with vulnerable groups.
“We are about to become the south of the region centre Arts Award Training provider which means we will be able to train up artists to help deliver all cultural education work, we are also making sure as part of it, that providers are accredited to deliver to many young people who don’t have qualifications to enable them to go back into further education courses – it is really exciting.”
Tees Valley Arts is celebrating its birthday in November with a party and entertainment provided by Circus Malabarista and is looking forward to moving into new accommodation in the ground floor of Melrose House, Middlesbrough which will be able to provide training rooms for artists and an open art space for community use.
It is also looking for new and sustainable sources of funding following the end of some of its European funding.
“We are about building and maintaining our cultural activities because the more we have the better it will be.
“The 25th anniversary is a celebration of the incredible amount of great work which has gone in over the last 25 years,” said Rosi.