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Arts: CULTURE: Arts Council simplifies funding processes.

Byline: HANNAH JONES Arts and Media Editor

FOR some arts organisations, it may have seemed harder to win lottery funding from the Arts Council of Wales than to win the lottery itself.

The application procedure was laborious, painstaking and complicated and all to a strict deadline, of course. But all that has just changed.

Following its restructuring process, ACW claims to have undergone a number of significant changes following a rigorous consultation with the arts sector in Wales, and an independent assessment of the quango requested by the National Assembly.

ACW receives money from two sources - cash from the Assembly and lottery funds, and one of the most important changes to have taken place is the simplification of the funding application process for arts groups throughout Wales. As this process is new, ACW will be closely reviewing its impact.

An evaluation form will be enclosed with all application sheets and ACW wants arts organisations to be frank with their comments.

ACW has also become a decentralised organisation, which means important decisions will be taken in the regions.

These factors, coupled with a 23pc increase in funding from the National Assembly, have been deemed successful by members of the arts fraternity who gained slices of the pounds 8.8m in grants awarded by ACW this week.

Sgript Cymru, Wales's first bilingual production company, received the largest non revenue grant under one of ACW's new schemes, `pro-duction and audience development'. Their pounds 100,100 will go towards the costs of touring a new Welsh language production, Andani by Bethan Gwanas, to six venues across Wales including Neuadd Dwyfor in Pwllheli, Theatr Gwynedd and Theatr Felinfach.

Mai Jones, of Sgript Cymru, said, ``The arts council seems to have stuck to its word and cut through some of the bureaucracy.''

The Arts Council of Wales also gave Fforwm Crefft Cymru Cyf pounds 2,000 towards the cost of new editions of the two Wales Crafts Guides.

Carlson Dance Company was awarded pounds 24,500 to fund performing arts projects for 2002/3 while Theatr Gwynedd received almost pounds 13,000 to stage a festival to celebrate the author Wil Sam and his work.

Annual revenue funding went to Diversions Dance Company who scored the biggest amount with pounds 436,280. Welsh Independent Dance, Community Dance Wales, the Voluntary Arts Network and Rhondda Cynon Taff Community Arts were among other successful schemes.

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SMOOTH MOVES: Diversions Dance Company members Romain Guion and Emma Lewis rehearse Clearing at Chapter Arts Centre Picture: Andrew James
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUW
Date:Sep 4, 2002
Words:419
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