Without Walls is delighted that Arts Council England (ACE) has decided to award us with National Portfolio status from 2023 to 2026, recognising the impact of our festival partners and the many artists we have worked with over the last five years. 

The award will allow us to continue to develop excellence in outdoor arts in England and enable our partners to bring world-class art to neighbourhoods, high streets and waterfronts across the country. 

It will be especially important for our new cohort of Touring Network Partners, many of whom serve audiences with low levels of arts engagement and work to revitalise their local communities. As well as supporting audience engagement activities, ACE’s investment will help the consortium strategically address other issues facing outdoor arts, including access, sustainability and diversity. We know that there is still room for improvement, and we will continue to target these areas.

We will maintain our support for artists creating ambitious, innovative outdoor projects in all scales and genres. Our work with artists has always extended beyond our annual touring programme, from helping artists carry out research and development with our Blueprint initiative, to developmental support in our priority areas of access, sustainability and diversity.  We’re proud to assist creative practitioners who have been working at the heart of the outdoor arts sector for many years, as well as those experimenting with work in public space for the first time.

Arts organisations across the UK are facing significant financial and operating challenges. Success will depend on bold and creative leadership and new forms of partnership. As England’s largest outdoor arts consortium, we are committed to using our resources to benefit the development of artistic practice across the sector, and to reach new audiences across the country.

We would like to thank Arts Council England and all of our partners.

Image credit: Lives of Clay by The Clay Connection at SIRF 2022 © Stuart Boulton, Stockton Borough Council