THE curtain has been brought down on the Big Arts Day as those behind the free festival look at alternative ways to celebrate Swindon’s creative side.
The Swindon Council-organised event was initially intended as a one-off to build on the huge success of Radio 1’s Big Weekend in 2009, but went on to run for a further two years.
However, with the council facing unprecedented budget challenges, coupled with the limited number of staff now left to organise the event, the decision has been made to cancel the event for 2013.
Coun Garry Perkins, Swindon Council’s cabinet member for regeneration and culture, said: “We initially only intended to run the Big Arts Day for one year as a means of engaging local people with Swindon’s arts scene, but we managed to find the funding to keep it going for another two.
“We are now at the point where we simply don’t have the resources to keep the event going.
“But we have had three fabulous years and I think we can say that we have met our objectives and have left a lasting legacy for the arts community in Swindon to build on.
“Now is the right time to pause and look at what we have achieved, but also to look at possible alternative options to celebrate and promote the talent we have in Swindon.
“We look forward to working with our partners to carry on the good work of the Big Arts Day.
“But, if a major sponsorship opportunity arises, we would have to look seriously at whether we could revive it or stage a similar event in another format.”
Festival director Helen Miah said: “I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has been involved in the Big Arts Days, from the many partners, sponsors and volunteers, many of whom gave their time and equipment free of charge, to the very talented local performers and the organising team.
"We have laid some great foundations to build on and we will continue to work with Swindon’s arts community to showcase the fantastic talent in the borough."
You can stay in touch with the arts scene in Swindon by joining Swindon Does Arts. The free network aims to increase awareness and participation in arts and culture in Swindon.
Everyone who is passionate about the arts is welcome to join, showcase work and make links with others in the creative sector, both in Swindon but also across the region. For more information visit: www.swindondoesarts.co.uk