Samuel West and Susie Dent with Hearts for the Arts award winners 2020 - Matt Steinberg, Artistic Director of Outside Eddge Theatre Company; Hackney Council's Petra Roberts; Manchester City Council's Luthfur Rahman

Nominations open for awards celebrating creativity during the pandemic

Published : 20/11/20 | Categories: News |

Nominations are now open for the 2021 Hearts for the Arts Awards, celebrating local authority and cultural trust arts champions and creative community projects. 

The awards are an annual initiative from the National Campaign for the Arts, which advocates greater public investment in the arts to improve the lives of people across the UK.

In a year where creativity and the arts have been vital for us all, the Hearts for the Arts Best Arts Project will recognise the projects or creative services that were delivered against-all-odds and created connection at a time when we have all been forced to be disconnected.

From creative activity that has brought communities together, to digital innovation, to civic uses of local cultural buildings and arts organisations, nominations are encouraged from a wide range of projects and from across the UK that have taken place between 10 October 2019 and 20 November 2020.


The awards are delivered in partnership with Culture Counts, the Local Government Association, Thrive, UK Theatre, Voluntary Arts Wales, and Wales Council for Voluntary Action. And the winners are chosen by a judging panel of leading arts figures (this year’s judges to be announced).

From 20 November until voting closes on December 6, members of the public, arts professionals, local authorities and cultural trusts can visit the Hearts for the Arts Awards webpage to put nominations forward in three categories:

  • Best Arts Champion – Councillor
  • Best Arts Champion – Local Authority or Cultural Trust Worker
  • Best Arts project

The awards are also open to cultural trusts working on be-half of local authorities. The National Campaign for the Arts is keen to recognise those who have used trust status to enhance arts provision and benefit local people. Therefore, the Best Arts Champion categories allow nominations for any local authority or cultural trust worker.

The winners will be announced in time for Valentine’s Day 2021 and the awards will be presented in collaboration with the Local Government Association’s Culture, Tourism and Sport conference which will be taking place digitally at the beginning of March 2021.

In addition, Samuel West – Chair of the National Campaign for the Arts – has offered to speak at a council meeting of each award-winner.


‘It’s not news that this year has presented unprecedented challenges and a national grief has taken its grip,’ says Samuel. ‘At times such as these the room for creativity is harder to come by, and yet the arts have continually been turned to for solace as we face hardships.

‘Hearts for the Arts has always been about awarding the unsung heroes of Local Authorities and Cultural Trusts who work against the financial odds, and heavily reduced funding, to promote and deliver arts projects and services to local communities.

‘These arts heroes are aware of just how necessary creativity is to the physical and mental health of the nation.  And we know that there are many people and projects out there who have been continuing to work against all odds in a year when we have needed it most. This year’s awards are all about them’

For more information, or to make a Hearts for the Arts Awards nomination, visit:

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