Star singer Rag‘n’Bone Man has given his backing to a music charity’s bid to establish the UK’s first centre of excellence for the development of marginalised and under-represented artists in Worthing.
Sussex charity AudioActive has taken a big step towards its vision thanks to £92,618 of National Lottery funding through Arts Council England.
“Many of our most promising creative young minds feel like square pegs in round holes in our education system,” said the charity’s chief executive Adam Joolia.
“The qualities that make them such unique, promising artists and who aren’t afraid to challenge convention or take risks, can often make them hard to nurture within formal institutions.”
It was this problem which inspired the Square Holes programme, which will include a host of research and development and pilot projects in Worthing, laying the foundations for the centre of excellence.
These will include an emerging artist development pilot, establishing weekly grassroots drop-in workshops in underserved communities, researching and identifying premises for the centre and a series of gigs to kick-start a contemporary urban and electronic music scene in the town.
The first of these events will be co-presented with triple-Brit-Award-winning Rag’n’Bone Man, who is a patron of the charity.
Rag’n’Bone Man, real name Rory Graham, said: “AudioActive do amazing work and I’m proud to be part of this project in Worthing.
“At school I was never told by a teacher that I could ever have a career in music. Square Holes is important because it will bring hope for loads of kids who are just like I was.”
Hedley Swain, area director of Arts Council England, said young people needed opportunities to realise their creative ambitions.
He said: “Square Holes aims do just that, and so we’re really pleased to support it thanks to National Lottery funding.
“We’re excited by the opportunities that it could create for talented young artists in and around Worthing and it is great to see Worthing developing as a creative centre.”