Preston Biennial planned: Could city host a major arts event every two years?

Posted on - 27th May, 2015 - 7:00am | Author - | Posted in - Arts, Preston City Centre, Preston Council, Preston Guild, Preston News, What's On in Preston
The Preston Guild is too long to wait between major arts events according to the city council Pic: Tony Worrall

The Preston Guild is too long to wait between major arts events according to the city council Pic: Tony Worrall

Preston City Council has unveiled its vision to host a major event in the city every two years – a Preston Biennial – as well as boosting the number of events held on the Flag Market.


Documents approving an additional spending of £98,000 in the 2015-16 financial year by the city council give a flavour of how the arts in Preston could be boosted.

A “biennial event in the city to bridge the once every 20 years guild gap” could be created. Arts Council England have indicated around £100,000 in funding could be available but Preston has to stump up £30,000 to show it is serious about hosting the event.

Preston BID and the University of Central Lancashire are also looking to put between £20,000 and £30,000 each into the pot.

The event would be a “dynamic, high quality and large scale event for Lancashire rooted in Preston that celebrates and explores connectivity, mobility, relationships and sense of place.£

The city council announced in March a major shake-up is being prepared for how the Harris Museum and Arts Gallery is run, including bringing in a new £75,000-a-year Arts and Culture Development Manager.

The Harris Museum and Art Gallery hosts the Harris Open

The Harris Museum and Art Gallery

The cost of this post is to be split between the city council and Lancashire County Council, so the new role will cost the city coincil £38,000-a-year minimum.

Events on the Flag Market are also due to get a boost, as £30,000 is ploughed into increasing the number of times it is used.

The Flag Market has seen restoration to the Cenotaph and its paving in recent years.

Within council documents it states: “As part of the Arts and Culture Framework it was envisaged that an increased number and range of events on the Flag Market would improve the city’s offer in regeneration terms but also showcase our arts and culture offer. Over the last year the Events Team has sought to improve the number and range of events taking place on the Flag Market.”

Cabinet member for leisure and the arts, councillor Veronica Afrin, has signed off the budget increase which was approved at February’s full council meeting.

Councillors have until Friday 29 May to decide if they want to call-in the decision made by councillor Afrin, if not the funding comes into force on Saturday 30 May.

What do you think of the Biennial idea? Would it work? Should more events be held on the Flag Market? Let us know in the comments below

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