'Let's work hard' - artists react to unsuccessful culture bid

Ruben Cruz

Ruben Cruz, from the Reprezent Project, will double down his efforts to ensure that Great Yarmouth is the number one place in the UK for street art. - Credit: Reprezent Project

Artists, creative organisations and a council leader in Great Yarmouth have pledged they will continue to promote the town's arts scene despite its unsuccessful UK City of Culture did.

Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft announced their joint bid for City of Culture in July.

It was announced on Friday that the joint bid was unsuccessful.

Primeyarc is a new art space inside the former Debenhams unit in Market Gates Picture: Jordon Thomas

Jules Devonshire and Kaavous Clayton from Originalprojects have praised the artists and organisations in Great Yarmouth for providing a year-round cultural experience. - Credit: Archant

Originalprojects - an arts team based in the town - said: "Great Yarmouth is a place where many artists and grassroots organisations live and operate, engaging and connecting with communities and providing a quality year-round cultural offer.

"These hard-working groups and individuals will remain committed to broadening the cultural voice and expanding the artistic activity within the town whatever the conditions.

"It would be fantastic if Great Yarmouth Borough Council (and the bidding partners) supported them in this as a matter of course." 

Artist Genevieve Rudd said: "The creative community is here regardless of the outcome of the City of Culture status.

"We'll still be making art, connecting communities and celebrating the culture and heritage of Great Yarmouth.

"It would be great if the momentum shown by the council to apply for the status could now be applied from the ground up, to use their power to nurture and support the creative community of artists and makers based in the town."

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Ruben Cruz, from the Reprezent Project, said: "It's very surprising and sad news.

"Unfortunately, the people who made the decision for the shortlist clearly didn't see the diversity of culture, art and heritage that we have in the town.

"We are at the top of the league by having an arts organisation founded by someone from Portugal, that brings lots of national and international artists to deliver unique shows.

"By having the number one UK circus and street performance festival, the nation's oldest stadium at Great Yarmouth Town Football club and the only circus with water performances, we have demonstrated how important culture is within the town.

"We creatives and artistic people of Yarmouth are still going do big shows like the Fire on the Water with or without the City of Culture. 

"We are people of Yarmouth, so we always do the best of the best for street art, circus and community.

"We are also the capital of circus arts in the UK, so Reprezent Project will work harder than ever to make it the capital of urban art too.

"Just like Banksy said - 'Go Big or Go Home'.

"Let's work hard and wait for the next opportunity for City of Culture."


STANE by his mural near Great Yarmouth Library. - Credit: STANE

Street artist STANE said of the unsuccessful bid: "I am saddened to hear that Great Yarmouth didn't make the list this time around. 

"But I can't say I'm surprised as the council has only just started paying attention to and investing in culture outside of town heritage. 

"However, I truly believe if we keep the momentum we have now, we could snatch up the prize next time for sure.

"I promise I will keep doing what I do regardless."

Cllr Carl Smith (right), Leader of Great Yarmouth Borough Council, and Cllr Steve Gallant, Leader of

Cllr Carl Smith (right), Leader of Great Yarmouth Borough Council, and Cllr Steve Gallant, Leader of East Suffolk Council, announce the joint bid to become the UK City of Culture 2025, at Somerleyton Hall - Credit: Great Yarmouth Borough Council

Carl Smith, leader of Great Yarmouth Borough Council, and Steve Gallant, leader of East Suffolk Council, sent their congratulations and good luck wishes to the longlist candidates which are continuing in the competition, and said they would be happy to work with them as they progressed their plans.

Mr Smith said: “Whilst our exciting bid with East Suffolk Council to become the UK City of Culture 2025 will not progress to the next stage of the competition, it has created a lot of interest and we are determined to push forward with shining a spotlight on our area.

"We feel strongly that our coastal region is an inspirational and special place, with a rich and multi-layered culture and many wonderful opportunities.

"We are determined to open that up to everyone who lives, works or studies here, with all the wonderful benefits it can bring, and to share it and showcase it to the world."

Great Yarmouth Borough Council leader, Carl Smith, by the Winter Gardens which has been awarded £10

Great Yarmouth Borough Council leader, Carl Smith, by the Winter Gardens which has been awarded £10 million of lottery money. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021