“A little less competition and a bit more collaboration” East Street Arts secures NPO funding

East Street Arts has been successful in our application to continue as an Arts Council England (ACE) National Portfolio Organisation.

This news from the latest funding round means we can continue our mission to secure better outcomes for artists alongside tackling economic decline in towns and cities through creative and cultural interventions.

We are one of the UK’s leaders in artist-led support, and have been pioneering new ways of working throughout the past 30-years. In this funding round we secured a total of £1,023,369 and will remain in the Arts Council England National Portfolio for 2023 – 2026. After reflecting on both the decision and the process Jon Wakeman, co-founder and Artistic Director at East Street Arts, writes:

The whole team here are obviously delighted to have received significant investment from Arts Council England and we would like to thank them for their continued support of East Street Arts. I am incredibly proud of our staff here and the tenacity and creativity with which they work with artists, producers and places to deliver really outstanding work.

This investment secures our future as we shape new ways of supporting artists to be self-determined and self-sufficient. And will help us develop our ambitious place-based creative programmes with new partners around the north: building a more resilient cultural ecosystem here that offers sustainable livelihoods and allows artists to do great work.

But I think everyone in this sector knows what an exceptionally tough process this was. A lot of organisations applying for the first time were unsuccessful, and our thoughts go out to them. It feels like the right time to start thinking about how we continue to connect, collaborate and make best use of time and resources to support artists.


Is the funding system set-up around too much competition? Is that the best way to deliver more meaningful work or build a lasting cultural sector?

We’re working in an economy and society with unprecedented social challenges, so it’s vital we work together to secure the future of our artists-led sector.

The good news is that Yorkshire and the north has seen a significant investment in this round of funding which gives us the opportunity to dream, devise and deliver ambitious new ideas that shape a new way of working here. It’s a chance to, together, support talent and innovation from a position of inclusivity. With Leeds’ year of culture in 2023 and Bradford 2025 just around the corner it’s a real opportunity for us to collectively stretch our creative muscles and work outside of our comfort zone too.

As we look forward, this NPO funding will help us to facilitate and grow new ways to support artists and communities to force positive change themselves, from the grassroots up.

Other things!