Major lottery grant awarded to Corfe Castle arts hub

A year after being formed, Sandy Hill Arts next to Corfe Castle station in Dorset has just been granted nearly £30,000 to fund a programme of diverse music events, alongside showcasing rising local musical talent.

The Arts Council National Lottery project grant of £28,129 is the first major award that the arts charity has received since it was set up in May 2022.

Music by the Trackside Cooptimists at Sandy Hill Arts
Sandy Hill arts

Music by the Trackside Cooptimists at Sandy Hill Arts

Access to new kinds of music

The funding will go towards its grassroots music project which will offer the local community access to new kinds of music, as well as appealing to younger audiences and those with additional accessibility needs.

The money will also pay for the purchase of a large marquee and PA system.

Sandy Hill Arts
Sandy Hill Arts

Part of the money will fund a large marquee ensuring events can go ahead whatever the weather

“Fuel a growing, vibrant local music scene”

Artistic director at Sandy Hill Arts Laurel Hart said:

“We strongly believe in the transformative power of music; this kind of support helps us develop into a go-to venue for different kinds of music, drawing talent from far and wide, while also supporting up-and-coming local musicians.

“We are very excited to launch this project with a performance by psychedelic rock band The Good Beast and the Big Byrd on 25th June, followed by experimental musician Plumm on 22nd July. We are firming up dates for more performances as we speak!

“The funding will be instrumental in helping us cultivate a dynamic and inclusive space for musical talent and fuel a growing, vibrant local music scene. We are also delighted to be delivering local projects including AllSort’d, the Dementia Choir, Safe Space, and Jazz Masterclass that engage and benefit our local communities.

“It’s the beginning of our journey but in time we hope to create a lasting impact on the cultural fabric of our region”.

Artist at Sandy Hill Arts

Sandy Hill Arts has about 17 artists on site including Lizzie Brown

Catherine Nix at Dorset Dried flowers
Sandy Hill Arts

Catherine Nix from Dorset Dried flowers in her studio

Creating a community for artists

The site used to be the old milk bottling plant and was acquired by local artist Tony Viney some 30 years ago to save it from developers. Now the Viney family have leased the site to the new charity Sandy Hill Arts for an initial 25 years.

The new status preserves the site for the benefit of the community and has made it easier to apply for grants.

The idea is to shift the focus from being an industrial estate for artists – there’s about 17 studios rented out – to creating more of a community for artists.

As well as the Boilerhouse Gallery, it’s now offering live music, performing arts, exhibitions, workshops, and outreach initiatives.

Melissa Viney
Melissa Viney

Chair of trustees at Sandy Hill Arts Melissa Viney

“Bring life and colour to the local community”

Chair of trustees at Sandy Hill Arts Melissa Viney said:

“We are so grateful to the Arts Council for this crucial funding. It will enable us to bring more diverse, top quality music to Sandy Hill Arts from far afield, as well as support and nurture new local talent. It will also bring life and colour to the local community.

“This grant will enable us to purchase a marquee and sound equipment and will allow us to extend our programme throughout the year. It’s an exciting and highly creative time for the arts in Purbeck in Dorset.”

Further information

  • More about upcoming announcements and events related to this project, including how to book tickets is on the Sandy Hill Arts website

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