Chichester to launch bid to become the UK's first city of culture

Chichester is poised to make its bid to become the UK's very first city of culture '“ a bid which could bring tens of millions of pounds worth of investment into the city.

Tuesday, 15th September 2009, 11:51 am
Updated Friday, 8th June 2018, 12:36 am

Organisers are predicting just by bidding they will bring massive economic benefits to the district.

But if the bid is successful, the implications could be global, making Chichester an attraction to people around the world.

Key to the bid will be Chichester's 'phenomenal' collection of arts and heritage sites; but for the bid to succeed, organisers recognise they must involve the entire community, its wealth of businesses and its young people.

There could be as many 29 locations in the running for the accolade which will be awarded for 2013 and last for four years.

Chichester's key players insist the city has a strong chance.

The bid '“ which will cover the district and not just Chichester '“ is being put together by the Chichester Arts and Heritage Partnership, effectively a new name for SWAG, the South West Sussex Arts Group which was set up by the Duke of Richmond in the 1990s.

Neil Lawson Baker, a key member of the team and chairman of the National Open Art Competition '“ Chichester, said: "Chichester is a small city with a huge amount of arts facilities.

"You have Pallant House which has the best collection of modern art outside the Tate; Chichester Festival Theatre which is probably the best theatre in the UK outside London; the Cass Sculpture Foundation which is probably the best sculpture park in Europe and possibly the world.

"You've also got Fishbourne Roman Palace which is the finest domestic Roman site North of the Alps; West Dean College which is internationally regarded as a post-graduate centre for teaching and the arts; the Weald and Downland Open Air Museum; Chichester Cathedral and Chichester Festivities."

Also part of the mix are Goodwood, Chichester Film Festival, the Oxmarket Centre of Arts, the Chichester Writing Festival, the Joy Gallery, the Planetarium, sculptor Philip Jackson, Uppark, Petworth House and the schools.

Mark Ringwood, of Chichester-based world music promoters Roots Around The World, agreed: "It is a wonderful catalyst for the arts. It could put Chichester on the international map as a visitor destination that could bring an awful lot of people into the city.

SWAG now wants anyone with any ideas for supporting the bid to get in touch via [email protected], marking their emails UK city of culture.

What do you think? Send a letter to [email protected] or leave a comment below.

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