Edinburgh art projects to be kickstarted with new ‘Culture Fund’

The popularity of the Tattoo's pipe bands will help to finance new arts projects. Photograph: Ian Georgeson
The popularity of the Tattoo's pipe bands will help to finance new arts projects. Photograph: Ian Georgeson
Have your say

The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo is to help kick-start new arts projects across the city after agreeing to help the city council bankroll a new “Culture Fund”.

The £100,000 cash pot will pay for live music, theatre, dance and visual art work to be produced and performed.

City council leaders decided to instigate a new fund last year following concern about a lack of support for grass-roots artists and performers in the capital.

The new culture fund ensures that support can be made available to arts groups and organisations who do not receive regular funding from the city council.

The Tattoo is the first major organisation in the city to agree to put money into the Culture Fund, which is open to applications from any arts organisation in the city.

A panel of arts specialists is helping to select the successful applications.

Initial projects to be funded via the Tattoo include an art walk inspired by Edinburgh’s seaside heritage, a site-specific dance show to be staged in the Scottish Arts Club in the city’s west end and a theatre production billed as a fantastic celebration of the failure of ornithopters – birdlike machines that took off in the 19th century.

A “creative residency” at Niddrie Mill Primary School will see a group of artists going back to school to set up their own creative hub, which includes live music, theatre, dance and visual art, while a community engagement project with a bowling club will help in the development of a new play.

Other productions will explore the impact of shoplifting, the power of music on the lives of 12-18 year-olds, and issues involving teenagers and “gender fluidity.”

Drake Music Scotland, the leading Scottish charity for disabled musicians, will be joining forces with the award-winning folk trio Lau to stage a special 20th anniversary celebration.

Theatre companies Magnetic North, Nutshell and Creative Electric are among the beneficiaries, along with Dance Base, Art Walk Porty and children’s festival Imaginate.

Rucelle Soutar, head of finance at the Tattoo, said: “As we start fresh on a new and exciting year for the Tattoo, we’re extremely proud to continue to feel the force of last year’s successes with our financial support for the Culture Fund. The organisations that will benefit from the funding set themselves apart as innovative and exciting projects and we’re delighted to help them on their journey, particularly as they reside in our home city.”

Tattoo producer David Allfrey added: “Each year we look to make the Tattoo more incredible than the last for our international audience and, if we can make a surplus, it is a huge privilege to be able to support.”

Donald Wilson, culture leader at the city council, said: “It is no secret that local authorities are operating in a climate of reduced public funding, yet this unique partnership with the Tattoo has enabled us to boost the level of support on offer to the city’s emerging artists.”