The arts and cultural sector in the East Midlands employs 56,000 people and contributes tens of millions of pounds to the economy, but also to health and well being.
However over the last few nights we've been hearing how funding cuts to culture are presenting one of its biggest challenges yet.
In the final part of our special series Culture Shock: The Future of our Arts, Chris Halpin has been finding out how the arts really can change lives.
"Birmingham City University has facilities that rival anything in the television industry."Read the full story ›
Between 2010 and 2015 national funding for arts and culture fell by 16.6%. Councils in the East Midlands also cut cash to many museums, theatres and galleries which they'd relied on for decades.
During that time a major review found that per person, 15 times more public money was invested into arts and culture in London than in the East Midlands.
The Arts Council says it's working to spread that money more fairly, but as local organisations struggle, some think arts and culture in the East Midlands is losing out. Chris Halpin reports.
ITV News Central investigation finds 60% of Midlands councils which fund arts institutions have reduced funding in the last three years.Read the full story ›
An investigation by ITV News Central finds 47% of East Midlands councils which fund arts institutions have reduced funding over 3 years.Read the full story ›
The Big Read: Sat 16th July - 13th September (Birmingham)
Over 170 BookBench sculptures, decorated by young people in the West Midlands as part of The Big Read, a unique arts project to promote literacy development, will be on public display in Birmingham.
There is also a whole host of literary-themed events and activities taking place around the displays to spark everybody’s interest in reading and writing.
Locations for the summer-long BookBench displays are widespread: Birmingham city centre and surrounding neighbourhoods, Solihull, Walsall, Sandwell and Coventry, with venues including Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, Library of Birmingham, Grand Central, Waterstones, Foyles,Sarehole Mill, The Core and Coventry Central Library
Every decorated BookBench tells a special story and, together with a jam-packed summer of book-themed events and activities, we hope The Big Read encourages all generations to rekindle their passion for reading and writing.”
For opening times and more information visit: http://www.thebigread.org.uk
Wollaton Arts Festival: Thurs 14th - Sun 17th July (Wollaton Park, Nottingham)
The first Wollaton Arts Festival, a brand new event by and for the people of Wollaton, will take place this weekend.
The festival will celebrate the vibrant local community in Wollaton, with free events for everyone to take part in. It’ll include events such as a ‘Big Picnic’ in Wollaton Park on Sunday 17 July.
Festival events include:
Festival Gathering - 16 July - Take a trip down memory lane and find out about the history of Wollaton (and share your own photos and memories) plus enjoy live music
Wollaton Arts Festival Bake Off - 16 July - Enter a showstopping cake in one of two categories, under 18 and over 18
Wollaton Big Picnic - 17 July - A chance to enjoy food and drink, live music and entertainment with other local people. There'll also be free storytelling and activities for children, creative workshops, tours, walks and exhibitions.
I want to encourage everyone living and working in Wollaton to join us at the first Wollaton Arts Festival.
We need you to make the event a success and hopefully an annual event in Wollaton’s calendar.”
For opening times and more information visit: http://beta.nottinghamcity.gov.uk
Carnival of Giants: Sat 16th July (Telford Town Park, Telford)
This Saturday Telford Town Park will come alive with prehistoric dinosaurs as they take over the QEII Arena for the Carnival of Giants event.
A GIANT parade will take place from 2pm featuring 500 people, dino paraphernalia and unique dinosaurs.
The community stage spot will be host to local dance, music and performances. There will also be a dressing up box, a craft marquee, sports, activities, food stalls, a large fun fair, and carnival games.
The interest in Carnival of Giants has been phenomenal and it’s easy to see why.
There is so much to do for all the family and everyone is sure to be amazed by the spectacular dinosaurs”.
For opening times and more information visit: www.discovertelford.co.uk/giants
Proms Spectacular: Sat 16th July (Bradgate Park, Leicestershire)
Bradgate Park is celebrating another milestone in its history with its first ever Proms event taking place this Saturday.
The Ruins of Bradgate Park House, in the centre of Bradgate Park will be welcoming the nationally acclaimed local Bardi Wind Orchestra for a night of popular pomp and ceremony.
The evening of popular and traditional music will keep the whole family entertained, claims organisers.
Bradgate House is steeped in history, being the first unfortified great house built in England and the childhood home of the Nine Day Queen, Lady Jane Grey.
Its ruins are a wonderfully evocative setting in which to enjoy an evening of music".
For opening times and more information visit: http://www.bradgatepark.org/
Sandwell & Birmingham Mela: Sat 16th - Sun 17th (Victoria Park, Smethwick)
Thousands of visitors will head to Victoria Park in Smethwick this weekend for the UK’s biggest Asian festival
The festival combines live international music performances, stalls, food, arts, community showcases, workshops and a funfair.
Over 100 artists and groups are set to perform at the event including Bollywood singer Mika Singh and artists Sukshinder Shinda, Zack Knight, Resham Anmol, Hardy Sandhu and Zora Randhawa.
The Mela is months of hard work and dedication by the team. This year we have put in the extra effort and are bringing something really special. Staging Mika Singh will make the Mela even bigger and attract a much diverse audience. Mika is India’s biggest Bollywood singer and he will rock the UK audience!"
Road closures and parking restrictions will be in place on the following roads on event days between 11.30 and 19.00:- Corbett Street, Suffrage Street, Scribbans Close, Pritchard Close, Ballot Street, Exeter Road, Jordan Close, Barnstaple Road, Tiverton Road, Dawlish Road, Victoria Park Road, Ron Davis Close, Pool Road, Salcombe Road, Amity Close, Pool Road, Allan Close
For opening times and more information visit: http://www.sandwell.gov.uk