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From Keighley News, August 21st, 2018
Written by David Knights

A host of local arts groups have united to press the Arts Council to fund the economy-boosting event from its Creating Civic Change pot. Dozens of volunteers gathered on Tuesday to tell Arts Minister Michael Ellis about early plans for Window On the World (WOW) when he visited Keighley. Belly dancers and a poet were among those who performed for Mr Ellis at the Creative Space arts centre in the former Sunwin House building on Hanover Street.

Mr Ellis, accompanied by Keighley MP John Grogan and Bradford Council leader Susan Hinchcliffe, chatted with artists who have workshops and displays in the centre.

Creative Space is just one of around a dozen local organisations that came together early this year at the invitation of Mr Grogan to raise the profile of arts and culture in Keighley.

They decided to work together on a bid to Creating Civic Change fund, which helps communities address social issues such as loneliness and isolation using artistic genres like theatre, dance and visual arts.

Mr Grogan invited Mr Ellis to meet some of the groups preparing the bid, as well as visit the Bronte Parsonage Museum, which is celebrating the 200th anniversary of Emily Bronte’s birth.

Mr Grogan hopes the visit will encourage more local groups to apply for Arts Council funding.

He said that between 2016 and 2018 only about £3,000 was spent by the Arts Council in the three Keighley wards, in comparison with £100,000 in the Worth Valley and nearly £450,000 in Ilkley.

He said: “Keighley will be putting in a strong expression of interest for Window On the World before the Arts Fund deadline at the end of September.

“A video is being made to showcase Keighley’s creative community, and this will be Keighley’s initial application to get chosen as one of the ten communities to get a slice of this Arts Fund.”

WOW is in its early stages, with no specific events or activities yet decided, but the intention is to draw on Keighley’s industrial history to inspire new creative projects.

Organisers hope to inspire potential artists, support the town’s creative industries, and involve its diverse communities.

Groups involved include the Musicians Centre, RATMA film festival and Big Soup Theatre Group, along with individual sculptors, photographers, painters, musicians and actors.

Mr Ellis said Creative Space offered an ideal environment for creative thinking by local artists, which in turn could help boost the local economy.

He said: “You have the right location to bring together many different disciplines working under the same roof, and they can bounce ideas off each other.”

Mr Ellis said it was “wonderful” that Keighley groups were working together to prepare a submission to the Arts Council.