Published: Friday, 14th January 2022

The shortlist has been announced for the National Campaign for the Arts' (NCA) Hearts for the Arts Awards 2022.

The awards celebrate the unsung heroes of Local Authorities who are championing the arts against all odds.

Medway Council has been nominated for Best Arts Project for Electric Medway – a 10-day art and tech festival produced by SparkedEcho, presenting a total of 64 artworks and activities for the benefit of Medway’s local creatives and audiences alike.

This year’s winners will be selected from the shortlist by a judging panel of key arts industry experts and practitioners, including:

  • Andy Dawson, Inspire Youth Arts, winner of the 2021 HFTA award for Best Arts Champion – Local Authority or Cultural Trust Worker
  • Krishnan Guru-Murthy, journalist and presenter of Channel 4 News
  • Kadiatu Kanneh-Mason, author, speaker and supporter of music education
  • Shaparak Khorsandi, stand up comedian, writer, all round delight
  • Anna Lapwood, organist, conductor and broadcaster
  • Deborah Meaden, businesswoman and TV Dragon
  • Jack Thorne, screenwriter and playwright
  • Samuel West, actor and director, NCA Trustee

Despite the pandemic, creative people and projects have been supporting and producing local arts all around the nation this year – helping to ease the pressure on the NHS and other UK organisations responsible for care and rehabilitation, and proving the benefits of creativity to mental health, and general wellbeing. The Hearts for the Arts Awards are a way to celebrate these creative efforts and to encourage local authorities and cultural trusts to prioritise arts and culture in their areas.

Nominations were received from across the UK for each of this year’s three award categories: Best Arts Project; Best Arts Champion - Local Authority or Cultural Trust Worker; and Best Arts Champion – Councillor.

The shortlist was judged by representatives from the National Campaign for the Arts and from this year’s award partners: Community Leisure UK, Creative Lives, the Local Government Association, Thrive and UK Theatre.

Showcased Medway's creative spirit

Cllr Howard Doe, Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Community Services, said: “I am delighted that Electric Medway has been shortlisted for a Hearts for the Arts award. The exciting free 10-day arts festival showcased Medway’s creative spirit and audiences enjoyed an array of activities including virtual reality, streamed performances, animation, projection and sound. Medway’s fantastic events programme supports our Child-Friendly Medway aspiration, putting children and young people at the heart of everything we do.”

Impressive breadth and engagement

Discussing Medway Council’s’ nomination, Hearts for the Arts Award partners said about Electric Medway: Electric Medway is a very well organised event. The breadth and engagement are impressive - this is a necessary project enabling actual change to the lives of those creatives involved, all while fostering community pride. Congratulations on a successful year, and we hope it happens again in 2022.”

Thrilled that Electric Medway is shortlisted

Festival Producer Kevin Grist, Co-Director of SparkedEcho, said: “We are thrilled that Electric Medway has been shortlisted for Best Arts Project. We couldn’t have delivered the wide-ranging digital festival without the support of Medway Council and our other funders and co-commissioners - Arts Council England, Creative Estuary, Kent Community Foundation, Tesco Bags of Help and Way of Life. We are particularly thankful to our local artists and to all of our community partners including libraries, cafes, galleries and heritage sites.”

The winners of the Hearts for the Arts Awards 2022 will be announced on Valentine’s Day, 14th February 2022.

The National Campaign for the Arts present the Hearts for the Arts Awards each year. This year’s awards are delivered by the NCA, in partnership with Community Leisure UK, Creative Lives, the Local Government Association, Thrive, UK Theatre, and Wales Council for Voluntary Action.

The Hearts for the Arts Awards were launched in 2016 to highlight the achievements of Local Authorities continuing their arts services against a backdrop of severe financial cuts. Previous judges have included Les Dennis, Susie Dent, Gary Kemp and Olivia Colman. Previous year’s winners included Wandsworth’s Create & Learn Playkits and Rochdale Borough’s Councillor Janet Emsley.

Find out more information on the shortlisted nominees.

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