A SCULPTURE marking the role of herring gutters in Shetland’s fishing industry and new arts festival Creative Coathangers in Galashiels are just two of the projects funded by the pioneering New Arts Sponsorship Grants programme in Scotland.

This year it celebrates a decade of success, and now more cultural organisations across the country are being encouraged to apply for funding.

Funded by the Scottish Government via Creative Scotland and run by Arts and Business Scotland, the New Arts Sponsorship Grants programme is open to Scottish businesses interested in sponsoring an arts or heritage.

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The scheme has seen in excess of £7.5 million invested in more than 500 individual arts and heritage projects since it started in 2006.

It provides pound for pound match funding of business sponsorship valued anywhere between £1,000 and £40,000.

David Watt, chief executive of Arts and Business Scotland, said: “Looking back over the past decade, this programme clearly demonstrates the mutual benefits of successful partnership between arts and business.

"For any cultural organisation looking to make their project happen during 2017, now is the time to be thinking about those local businesses that might benefit from getting involved in cultural sponsorship.

"These projects span everything from theatre and art to comedy and dance.

"They have involved collaboration between cultural groups and businesses of all sizes from construction to hospitality and from financial services to food and drink – and have been located throughout the length and breadth of the country, from Shetland to the Borders and from Aberdeen to the Hebrides."

The project receiving funding must be completed no more than nine months after the date of submitting a funding application.

Only businesses that have not sponsored an arts or heritage project in the last three financial years are eligible to take part – as well as those businesses that are completely new to cultural sponsorship.

Graeme Howell, general manager at Shetland Arts, said: “The pelagic sculpture project was a stunning achievement both in terms of the sculpture itself and in engaging new audiences with an arts project, including the local fishing industry in Shetland.

"The contribution of the New Arts Sponsorship Grant was crucial to the project – it simply could not have happened without it.

"The project’s long term legacy is to have successfully engaged the whole community, from the youngest to the oldest, and across all walks of life, in a collective celebration of the enduring importance of the pelagic industry to Shetland’s life and culture and economy.”

Commenting on the support received by the Creative Coathanger arts festival in Galashiels, Mark Timmins, one of the festival directors, said: “Working in partnership with a small local design and marketing company, Brand Satellite, the New Arts Sponsorship Grant programme provided crucial support that enabled us to promote Creative Coathanger more effectively to a younger audience through digital channels and social media.

"It also supported two Eco Art commissions which were put on public display in Galashiels. These were part of the festival but also really important in raising general awareness of the festival within the local community and encouraging people to get involved.”