A consultation document detailing a proposed five-year Arts Development Strategy for Wales has been published by the Arts Council of Wales (ACW), and is to be the subject of a series of briefing meetings across Wales over the next three weeks.
The document recommends a way forward for ACW at a time when it must respond to the 23% increase in funding for the arts announced recently by the Assembly.

The proposals feature a range of new initiatives, as well as a commitment to greater support for revenue-funded organisations and for scheme and project funding. Under the proposals, 120 ACW revenue clients are set to move from annual revenue funding to three-year funding agreements, and a stabilisation programme will be phased in from autumn 2002, initially to support the current portfolio of annually funded revenue clients. Emphasis is placed on the strengthening of the arts infrastructure, with the development and strengthening of the capacity of local authorities to fund and support the arts being seen as a priority. Specifically, this would include an advocacy programme to raise the profile of the benefits of the arts amongst Wales? 22 local authorities, and jointly funded arts development posts, project work, organisations and investment planning.

In terms of artforms, support for touring product is seen as a priority. The strategy proposes to develop a sustainable base of English language productions capable of being toured and increase the range and scale of product touring to community venues. To ensure that audiences across Wales have access to a range of touring product that requires a large-scale venue, there are proposals for the support of large-scale presenting venues, specifically the New Theatre (Cardiff), St David?s Hall (Cardiff), Rhyl Pavilion (Rhyl), Grand Theatre (Swansea) and the North Wales Theatre (Llandudno), which would become revenue funded organisations. ACW also proposes joining with the Arts Council of England-led Cross Border Touring Scheme. There is a commitment to the start-up of a Welsh language theatre, to be supported with two project grants.

A copy of the Strategy is available on the ACW website at http://www.ccc-acw.org.uk. A final version of the Strategy will be published in July after an eight-week consultation period. The closing date for responses to the consultation document is June 7. To obtain a hard copy of the document or to attend a briefing meeting contact Shari Finch
e: shari.finch@ccc-acw.org.uk