Luton Council has decided not to bid to be the City of Culture in 2025 but instead will launch a town-wide creative skills project.
The local authority ran a series of events and arts projects throughout 2019 as part of Luton’s pilot year of culture.
People Power Passion resulted in 13 local young people receiving paid training in the creative industries and 400 local people developing the skills required to access employment and higher paid work.
The programme has been nominated for the National Campaign for the Arts’ Hearts for the Arts Award for Best Arts Initiative by a local authority in 2019.
The council has decided that rather than making a full bid for UK City of Culture in 2025, they would build on the momentum from last year by developing a town-wide creative skills project that will create new jobs and develop skills for local people in arts and culture.
Over the coming years there will be a focus on diversifying and building participation, developing local artists and fundraising, the council says.
In addition, the programme will support a range of new and existing community events to grow and develop, bringing people together to celebrate the diverse and vibrant cultural in Luton.
‘People Power Passion was a huge success not just in terms of the amazing events that people enjoyed, but also through the skills, jobs and opportunities it resulted in,’ said Cllr Hazel Simmons MBE, leader of the council.
‘It was also a chance for us to see what we do well and our strengths and as a result we think it is much more valuable to focus the next few years on further developing our local arts and culture offer and developing skills and jobs for people here at home.
‘Working with regional and national partners we aim by 2040 to have local people working in an excellent range of creative jobs right here in Luton, many in the revived Hat District. This will show how diverse, creative and innovative Luton is and place us at the centre of addressing the national lack of diversity in arts and creativity.’