Why the arts should be important for all of us

Kirsty Wark

Kirsty Wark - Credit: Archant

The arts should be our future…and you can help the cause, says Sharon Canavar

The Harrogate International Festivals is the arts charity behind the latest History Festival in Harrogate that attracted some of the biggest names in history writing. But the organisation itself has an illustrious historical legacy. We continue to stand the test of time with 2016 marking our 50th anniversary.

Our diverse portfolio of festivals has taken the name of Harrogate around the world, delivering international artists to the spa town year after year. But we do more than just host big-name events. We work all year round to support new talent and to deliver outreach programmes to vulnerable groups. Our belief is that the arts enhance lives.

Think of culture and creativity as the immune system for lives well lived. From improving literacy skills to helping teenage mums with our weekly music sessions or giving access to incredible live events that could inspire the next generation of writers, musicians or philosophers.

The arts should be our future. But in a time of spending cuts becoming history is a very real threat. That’s why this year we launched our Future 50 Appeal, our most ambitious to date, to raise £1m to support the next 50 years of festivals.

Part of the magic of our festivals is to create enduring memories that we hope become part of your own personal history. We know that what resonates with one person won’t matter a jot to someone else. That’s the beauty of a year-round organisation with a portfolio of very different programmes and audiences, what we’re starting to call our ‘library of live’. Choose a live event you enjoy, dip into something you’re not sure about….. you don’t like chamber music, that’s fine, let me tell you about our Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, don’t like reading, try Berwins Salon North where you can let the finest speakers condense years of learning into an entertaining and enthralling 20 minutes challenging your thinking and knowledge, all over a fine glass of wine. Don’t want to leave the house, download one of podcasts recorded live at the festivals.

Looking for some early New Year’s resolutions you can really stick to? Try an event at the Harrogate International Festivals or help us make history by supporting our Future 50 Appeal. w

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Sharon Canavar is the chief executive of Harrogate International Festivals