DACS is seeking location partners for ART WORKS - a UK-wide programme of artists placements on high streets

    As we emerge from the pandemic, the debate about how to regenerate our local communities and resurrect the high street has become even more pressing. By making vacant spaces available to artists within local communities, DACS’ programme will create new ways to imagine and use retail, commercial and public spaces, to enliven our high streets and to engage local people in creativity. We will employ artists to reimagine and rebuild our future. 

    Become an ART WORKS location partner


    We are seeking expressions of interest from towns, cities, high streets, regions and organisations to collaborate with us to develop and pilot this exciting initiative, as one of 5 participating locations in this significant national programme. This call may be of particular interest to Future High Street Fund awardees though other towns and cities are welcome to apply.

    The deadline for submitting an expression of interest is 28 May. Further information about how to apply is available here.

    Kickstarting employment


    Up to 100 established and graduate artists will be paid a living wage for a year-long programme of work in five different geographical locations. The programme will work in partnership with local communities and with public and private sector partners in diverse locations and communities (rural, urban, coastal) across the UK.
    As part of the programme we are delighted to announce that DACS has secured funding from the Government Kickstart scheme to provide placement opportunities for recently graduated and locally based artists, aged between 21 to 24 year olds and on Universal Credit.

    Creating opportunities

    Pre-pandemic, the creative industries contributed £112bn to the UK economy, with visual arts and artists an important part of this success. By employing the creativity of artists, we can help create opportunity, boost local economies and fuel wider economic recovery.

    'Artists need places to work. It’s important we have studios embedded in communities where we can create the things that we make. These studios act as creative hubs and that existthe impact is much wider than the work made in them.  A lot of artists also employ people from the local economy, whether that’s picture framers, paper suppliers, the local art shop or as studio assistants.'

    Stuart Semple, artist

    ‘The pandemic has really changed how we use space. With businesses failing, this has unfortunately meant that a lot of offices, shopfronts and other types of spaces have become available again. It’s always such a shame for spaces not to be used and artists always need space to produce and present work and I think there lies a massive opportunity for the arts.'

    Haroon Mirza, artist

    Find out more


    Image: Now Is Your Time, 2016, Naomi Edmondson © Naomi Edmondson / Survival Techniques. All rights reserved, DACS/Artimage 2021

    Posted on by Bel New