Following today’s announcement with the roadmap out of lockdown, Josephine Burns, Chair of Without Walls, has provided a comment about the Outdoor Arts sector. Without Walls is a consortium of over 30 festivals and arts organisations that bring fantastic outdoor arts to people in towns and cities across the UK. She comments:
We welcome the news of a cautious lockdown exit plan and gradual reopening of the economy, but Without Walls and its 35 partner organisations now appeal for the government to outline clear guidelines for the Outdoor Arts to return to business.
Outdoor Arts are a thriving part of the UK cultural landscape that are more important now than ever. Our work is particularly well placed to bring vibrancy and connection back to public spaces and Without Walls is committed to getting our work back on the streets and in front of audiences in ways that are safe, responsible, and celebratory for everyone.
Without Walls’ partners are all working together to ensure that public safety is paramount at our events and we have developed a range of resources on how to present work safely in outdoor settings during the pandemic. We are at a critical point in the development of our work and now need adequate notice and time to plan. This year we are investing over £650k in our largest programme ever, to support artists to create and tour 20 new ambitious projects across the country. Without clear guidance for our industry, this network of events, experts and freelance workforce remains under threat.
To move forward, Without Walls urges the government to recognise the adaptability and expertise of the UK Outdoor Arts sector which prides itself on making extraordinary things happen in a huge range of contexts, spaces and places. We believe that Outdoor Arts are essential to support cultural recovery and to bring communities back together following the trauma of the pandemic. We are confident that our events are viable, as safe as outdoor exercise and can bring tremendous value to the health and wealth of our nation and wider economy. We eagerly anticipate further information to help us move forward.