Take five: Dacorum arts group is tuning up for action

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An ambitious five-point plan to put the arts on the map in Dacorum has been spelled out – with a new scheme to recognise young talent and an annual arts and leisure fair key planks in the programme.

Dacorum Arts Partnership chair Brian Doran spelled out the body’s key priorities for the coming years at a session at Apsley’s Frogmore Mill attended by arts organisations, charity representatives and Mayor of Dacorum Councillor Penny Hearn.

The strategy aims to build on the success of last year’s Olympics-linked Festival of Culture And Sport and this summer’s Dashfest programme, which gathered together existing events and fostered new initiatives to create a rolling programme of events which is still going on.

Guest presenter Nick Denham of Herts Music Service, representing countywide arts umbrella organisation Create Hertfordshire, praised the work that has already been done to bring together organisations in Dacorum towards a common purpose, saying it was far more advanced than other parts of the county.

Mr Doran detailed DAP’s progress so far before spelling out the priorities for the coming years.

These include making it easier for groups to spread the word about their activities and recruit new members through the developing What’s On In Dacorum website, working with other organisations to build on the success of the Dashfest brand, launching an awards scheme to reward young talent, creating an annual arts and leisure fair for an estimated 100 exhibitors, and fostering links between arts organisations, charities and local businesses to make sure that they’re able to work together to the benefit of all.

The arts awards, backed by local branches of the National Association Of Decorative And Fine Arts Societies, will be officially launched in the next few weeks.

But to turn the plan into reality will cost – an estimated £150,000 over the next three years.

Work to source that money is already under way, but Mr Doran encouraged anyone interested in the project to take advantage of free DAP membership to get involved. Donations to help fund the work will also be welcome – call 01442 268913 for more details, or visit the website at www.whatsonindacorum.org.uk.