Essex County Council is committed to developing the arts across the county for the benefit of residents and visitors to Essex.
The Arts Development team have a proven reputation for quality and innovative work, delivering a wide range of projects which contribute to the local economy, boost tourism, tackle health and social agendas and increase skills.
Arts Development supports all art forms including visual, performance, digital/media and public art. We provide a range of services:
- Information, advice and dissemination of good practice
- Strategic partnership projects and commissions
- Countywide festivals
- Education/training and participation
- Funding (Arts in Essex and Strategic Arts Organisation Programme)
- Jaywick Martello Tower culture/heritage venue
- Support for our Strategic Delivery Partners (Essex On Tour, Essex Cultural Diversity Project, Sound Exchange)
- ECC Arts Development has a unique role within Essex that complements the role of the District and Borough Councils as well as the regional and national bodies representing the arts
Essex County Council is working on a number of projects, which have been designed to enhance or promote specific aspects of the art and cultural life of the county.
Sparks will Fly
The call went out far and wide across the universe. The incredible Glass Bead Game has been played for the first time in a thousand years, and coincided with the arrival of the Olympic Torch in Essex.
Two great champions, Boreas Zephyr and Marina Mightier visited Essex to compete for the title of 2012 Champion of The Game. In two marathon journeys around the whole county, each champion collected giant beads from Essex's communities, enabling them to play, and win, the game.
In each location a welcome ceremony by local people was held and a Glass Bead containing something unique to that place was presented.
Thousands supported Boreas and Marina in their journeys before they came together, for the first and last time on Friday 6 July, when sparks really did fly!.
Sparks will Fly was Essex County Council’s key cultural Olympiad project which travelled across the county during the summer of 2012, engaging thousands of people and culminating with the spectacular finale at Hylands Park, coinciding with the arrival of the Olympic Torch.
Essex Book Festival
After 11 successive years as part of Essex County Council Library Services, Essex Book Festival has taken a new direction. With major support from Arts Council England and local partners, it has become a registered charity and is overseen by a new board of voluntary trustees, all with a shared love of literature. For information about this year's events, visit the Essex Book Festival website
Team Hadleigh is an Essex County Council led, Heritage Lottery Funded project which aims to showcase the fascinating heritage and culture of Hadleigh.
As part of Team Hadleigh, schoolchildren from Hadleigh Junior School and Westwood Academy have researched their local heritage with help from the Hadleigh and Thundersley Community Archive Project.
Their research, along with art work and audio interviews, has fed directly into a mobile web app and audio guide which can be hired from Hadleigh Library, as well as the creation of several large scale textiles by local volunteers who met weekly at Hadleigh Old Fire Station.
For the app and audio guide, local sound artist Stuart Bowditch has interviewed a wide cross section of the community to unearth local people's memories of the area which highlight the places that really matter to them.
Local historians and specialists have also been interviewed to give insights into the history of the Hadleigh Salvation Army Colony, Hadleigh Castle and the Country Park to create an engaging and informative tour of the area.
Art in schools
Essex County Council is committed to working with schools to encourage children to develop their artistic talents.
In the Members’ corridor in County Hall, Chelmsford, there is an opportunity for schools to exhibit displays of their work. The artwork on display is changed every half term, in order to ensure that a wide selection of young artists have the opportunity to exhibit
If you wish to apply for an exhibition slot, please contact the Arts Development team. Alternatively, an arts application form
can be downloaded directly and submitted to the Arts Development team. A factsheet is available to ensure that artworks are submitted in the correct format.
For more information go to the Visit Essex website for all arts events in Essex, including the Summer of Art
Journey to the Podium
As part of the 2012 Essex Legacy project, Essex County Council have commissioned eight artists to work with athletes from the county to create artworks that mark their preparations and journey to the 2012 Olympic Games. For further information, look at the Journey to the Podium page
on the Essex Legacy website.
Rob Smith still from ‘Player’
Artist Studios in Essex
Essex County Council Arts Development in partnership with local authorities and partners have helped implement several thriving artist studios in Essex, helping to regenerate empty spaces into vibrant artistic, community hubs.
After extensive refurbishment by Essex County Council in association with Castle Point Regeneration Partnership and with funding from the Homes and Communities Agency, Hadleigh Old Fire Station is now home to 15 artists and two local community groups.
Hadleigh Old Fire Station will be an important stepping stone towards supporting and developing an arts and cultural community in Hadleigh for many years to come, as part of the regeneration plans for the town centre.
Gatehouse Arts, situated in the heart of Harlow provides studios for up to 29 new and emerging artists.
The studios, which make use of previously empty shop and office premises in the town centre is part of an ongoing programme to regenerate the West Square area in Harlow.
Gatehouse Arts has a community gallery and project space that promotes the work of resident artists and local community arts organisations.
Strategically funded arts projects
Jaywick Martello Tower
Jaywick Martello Tower
supports creative collaborations relating to the themes of community, heritage and environment. The tower creates opportunities and ventures that make it not only a gallery, workshop space and meeting point but an innovative and unique combination of all these things.
Jaywick Martello Tower
Essex Cultural Diversity Project
'Bohemian Rhapsody of a Union Jack' Khaveer Idrees
The Essex Cultural Diversity Project
is a collaborative initiative developed in partnership with Essex County Council and Arts Council England, East. The activities of the project span the entire cultural sector including museums, heritage, libraries, archives and arts, enhancing the participation of the region's Black and Minority Ethnic communities in all of these sectors.
Essex on Tour
Essex on Tour
works with local volunteers in venues across Essex to promote professional live arts events, often in rural and hard to reach locations. The scheme offers a huge selection of shows which include theatre, dance, music, children’s shows and comedy.