Councillor Sonja Crisp has just been newly appointed to Yorkshire Regional Arts Council.
Labour councillor for the ward of Holgate since 2007, Sonja Crisp has been increasingly active in her roles as Cabinet Member for Leisure, Culture and Social Inclusion and is now set to add this to her responsibilities. In addition to her not insubstantial duties presiding over York’s Olympic and Jubilee celebrations, she has also found time to oversee the preparation of York 800 Festival.
Her duties will include meeting with her colleague four times a year to discuss strategies, priority actions, approving long term investment plans and dealing with grants lager than £25,000. With Sonja’s track record within the community, we can only hope that the latest injection of influence will allow her to build on the work she has already done, simulating the ever growing arts and culture scene within York. Cllr Sonja Crisp said “I’m honoured to have been appointed to the Regional Arts Council, a post which I hope will enable me to encourage a wider range of people in York and the surrounding area to become actively involved in and access arts in its many forms.”
It is a difficult task disturbing funds to the 250 or more creative companies in York, and it is a task I do not envy with those numbers expected to increase. In 2011, within funding already spread thin, £19.1m was cut from their budget with 206 organisations losing 100% of their grant. The numbers don’t look any better this year. Nevertheless, Cllr Sonja Crisp has proven that she is committed to bringing York’s artist and wider community every chance to show the world just what a hive of creative activity this city is. There have even been rumours that the council are planning on giving local poets lessons in ‘twitter’, and lining them along the entire York leg of the Olympic Torch relay. The hope is that they will be able to provide their poetic insights as they come to them. Whether or not this is a good idea remains to be seen, but what is evident is that Cllr Crisp and her colleagues are keen to promote arts. I wish her luck.