Darren Henley Congratulates Artsmark Schools

As we launch the first Artsmark Celebration Week, Arts Council England's Chief Executive, Darren Henley, blogs about the important role arts and culture has on a young person's development, and has a special message of thanks for our Artsmark schools. 

Work with, for and by children and young people is at the heart of the Arts Council’s mission. It’s one of our five goals and underpins everything we do. 

We believe that the enjoyment of art and culture is vital to the development of every child’s natural creativity, and that a good cultural education improves happiness and life chances. More than that, subjects such as art and design, dance, drama and music are in themselves valuable for the intellectual and practical rigour that they bring to young people’s lives. Alongside numeracy and literacy, creativity is a vitally important part of a child’s education.

Schools remain the single most important place where children can experience a cultural education, and Artsmark continues to play an incredibly important role in raising the breadth and quality of the cultural offer across our schools.

In this Artsmark Celebration Week, I want to congratulate each and every one of the 3,160 Artsmark schools. They are committed to ensuring young people have access to the best of arts and culture, which will make a real difference in their lives.

Artsmark helps unlock young people’s potential, supporting them to develop character and talent, and increase their knowledge, curiosity, skills, experiences, and understanding of what great arts and culture means.

For Artsmark Celebration Week, (9-13 October), we’re shining a light on the fantastic work taking place in schools across the country. There are many inspirational stories ranging from setting up student Arts Committees to building long-lasting cultural partnerships to embedding the arts into whole school planning. All this is part of showing how Artsmark schools are leading the way in ensuring every child has access to a broad and balanced curriculum.  

These are challenging times for young people. The Arts Council will make the case to government for the importance of cultural education for all children, wherever they start in life. We need to encourage the next creative generation. With the UK’s creative industries now generating £87.4bn a year for our economy, this should be part of our nation’s economic strategy.

So, thank you to Artsmark schools for helping our children grow into innovative, articulate and successful young people, with better opportunities and life chances. Let’s work together to spread the word and get every school on board.

Darren Henley, 
Chief Executive Officer, Arts Council England 


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Cultural education gives children and young people the opportunity to develop their creativity, both individually and collectively, and that's why our goal is for every child and young person to have the opportunity to experience the richness of the arts.

Darren Henley
Chief Executive
Arts Council England

It's vital that children have the opportunity to learn and enjoy arts and culture from an early age. It develops their creativity, inspires future careers and enriches their childhood.

Artsmark Award does brilliant work in schools and education to ensure young people access a broad and balanced curriculum that includes high-quality arts and culture.

Michael Ellis MP
Minister for Arts, Heritage and Tourism
Department of Culture, Media and Sport