Arts Council England have awarded The Harris a further three years of funding, with a generous grant of £687,420
Creative and Cultural organisations across the country, including the Harris Museum, Art Gallery and Library benefit from being part of Arts Council England’s National Portfolio Organisation programme which enables organisations to plan and deliver over the long term, improving access to the arts, safeguarding cultural assets for future generations and powering economic growth through culture.
The Harris is an important part of Preston’s heritage and a leading Cultural Venue. Its programme of events attracts families, local schools, community groups, young people and visitors from the wider region.
Located in the City-centre, The Harris is more than a monumental building: it is a centre for Preston’s cultural and civic life; a source of inspiration, pride, creativity and enjoyment for our communities. Becoming a National Portfolio Organisation (NPO) in 2018 enabled the Harris to strengthen the ways creative services and programmes were delivered. A further three years of funding will provide further opportunities for all to create and make, building an improved, stronger sector by better enabling creative partnerships to flourish while delivering excellence in arts in culture.
Currently closed for capital works, the Harris is working within the City of Preston to provide an influential and creative programme of activities within the community. The Harris aims to inspire people of all ages to engage with the world around them through art, history, culture and science. This significant investment from Arts Council England will allow for further development of the core activity planning programme, producing a greater offering for audiences, particularly targeting young people and families.
The Harris is an accredited museum, caring for fine, decorative and contemporary art, social history objects and historic books of national and regional importance.
Alex O’Toole, Chair of Arts Lancashire, said, “We are thrilled that The Harris Museum, Art Gallery and Library in Preston will retain their NPO status for 2023 – 26.
It recognises the major contribution that The Harris makes to the cultural life of Lancashire and it’s a tribute to their commitment to excellence in developing and delivering creative engagement programmes connected to their unique collections of art and historical objects.
It also demonstrates the value they provide to Preston and the surrounding area through their wide-ranging programme of exhibitions, activities and events for people of all ages and circumstances, particularly, their work with community groups and the capital project: Harris Your Place.
We offer our most sincere congratulations to Councillor Peter Kelly, the delivery team and the board of trustees at The Harris and look forward to continuing to support their organisational development, their work to provide opportunities for Lancashire artists, and their journey to net zero.”
Councillor Peter Kelly, Cabinet member for culture and leisure services at Preston City Council said: “The team at the Harris and Preston City Council are delighted about the generous grant awarded from Arts Council England.
We are enormously grateful for their continued funding which will support the programme of fantastic and varied events and activities around the City of Preston while the building is closed for the transformational Harris Your Place capital project.
The money will support more opportunities for community engagement and realise our ambition to reach new audiences and remain a vibrant heart of this wonderful City.’’
Harris Your Place
Harris Your Place is a £16 million project set to restore and reimagine the Harris for 21st-century audiences as a cultural learning space. The aim of this project is to protect the building and the architecture for future generations whilst enhancing accessibility options and positioning the Harris as a community hub for Preston and Lancashire.
The capital project is more than simply preserving this much-loved building; Harris wants to ensure that it remains a vibrant heart of the community. A place where people want to spend their time.