Evaluation of Inspire Public Art Project
This evaluation sought to assess the contribution of the Inspire public art project to the regeneration of South East Northumberland. The research was carried out by PLB Consulting during 2005, and the evaluation report was completed in January 2006.
The evaluation aimed to explore the project's overall contribution to the social and economic regeneration agenda in the North East, to identify key strengths, weaknesses and lessons learned, and to make recommendations for future practice.
The report reveals that Inspire has secured some £660,000 for public art across South East Northumberland, sufficient to create or support some 20 full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs. More than £80,000 of this sum was leveraged from other public sector organisations to augment funds committed by the Northumberland Strategic Partnership (NSP). In terms of the quantitiative objectives identified for the project in the original NSP funding agreement, Inspire has exceeded both the target for FTE employment and the number of people involved in learning activities under 30 hours.
The evaluation study confirms that Inspire is emerging as an effective enabling mechanism for public art in South East Northumberland. The Public Art Development Officer post offers an intermediary who knows the sector and who can provide both project initiation and support to the highest professional and curatorial standards.
Discussions with local authority officers who have engaged with Inspire show that it is functioning as a catalyst, stimulating the use of public art across a broad range of environmental improvement and public realm projects. The provision of a dedicated public art post outside the normal departmental structures has addressed capacity issues within local authority departments and is seen as the most effective route to delivering relevant specialist skills to complement 'in-house' expertise and responsibilities.
The project has been very successful in raising the profile of public art and is seen as a successful community-involving project.
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