Submission from Rachel Rowett, South Holland District Council

Why do you think people in the South Holland and Boston areas don’t get more involved in the arts?

I think a lot of people don’t recognise what they are doing is an arts activity. Barriers to getting involved include cost, transport, reluctance to try something new, especially if there is a cost involved they don’t want to risk paying for something they may not enjoy. A feeling that it is elitist and not for them. Lethargy – busy all day and it’s easier to watch tv? A lot of people will say they don’t know that things are happening.

What do you think should happen to encourage people to get more involved in the arts locally?

Shout louder! There are lots of fantastic opportunities to engage in the arts across both districts. All groups and organisations are busy marketing what they do individually. This is a great opportunity to join all those groups and organisations together to shout collectively about the arts offer. We need to get the communities attention and aim high. It would great if participation in the arts is seen as normal and accessible as participation in sports.

What ideas do you have for exciting, innovative ways to get more people involved in the arts in the area? Please also estimate how much it might cost.

I think in terms of sustainability everything needs to feed into developing the arts infrastructure that already exists, but there needs to be some “big bang” events to grab peoples attention. What has been interesting to see through the London Mozart Players project where the musicians have performed in churches and village halls is that they carry a prestige and a standard that some people in the district don’t think they deserve. “why are they performing here”. Maybe using well known or national companies and artists to gain profile to bring people out but include local groups and artists in the activity to show people what they do have on their doorstep. It would be good to give an opportunity for all groups, artists and organisations to showcase what they do. I also like an idea that was suggested at the open space meeting about arts speed dating, where you have lots of activities to try and you try each one for 10-15 mins before moving on. Whatever happens I think marketing and strategic community engagement are key so that all activities are as high profile as possible.