Creative charity Faceless Arts closes after loss of funding

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A creative charity which helped thousands of people enjoy the arts for more than a quarter of a century has closed.

Wakefield-based Faceless Arts announced its closure after 26 years of bringing creativity to deprived and isolated communities.

Creative director Bev Adams

Creative director Bev Adams

The group started Wakefield Kite Festival, helped run Pontefract Liquorice Festival took outdoor art to countries including Ireland, Canada, Singapore, France, Turkey, Austria.

Faceless, which was set up in 1990, took part in events including the Tour De France, Tour de Yorkshire, 2012 Olympics Millennium celebrations.

Last year the organisation, which provided free artistic experiences to around 40,000 people a year, held its 25th anniversary celebrations at Hepworth Wakefield.

Artist director Bev Adams said: “It has been a real privilege to work with so many talented artists over the years, to travel to unique places, hear fascinating stories and get creative with wonderful people.

“We loved bringing people from all walks of life together to create great art and we take with us some very fond memories. For example, a 100-year-old lady beaming as she proudly posed for a photo with the first painting she’d made since primary school.

“Another heart-warming story is of a selective mute speaking for the first time to say a line I had given her in an outdoor show.”

Faceless was forced to close after losing funding from the Arts Council and Wakefield Council, which have both been hit by government budget cuts.

Julie Connolly, who chaired of the board of trustees at Faceless, said: “Despite the hard work and commitment of each and every member of staff, without funding the charity is unable to continue in its current form.

“I am aware that Faceless’ team of artists are currently pursuing new ways to continue their work whether separately as freelance artists or corroboratively.

“We are glad that their work will not stop, and we wish them every success in the future.”

Among projects by Faceless was Fit for Life, which was funded by Wakefield Council and worked with teenage girls to encourage exercise and healthy eating.

In 2015 the group’s international work produced the first ever street performance in the town of Koćevje in Slovenia.

Julie Ward MEP, who is a member of European Parliament’s Committee on Culture and Education, said “It was with great sadness that I heard about the board’s decision to end the work of Faceless Arts, a known and trusted professional entity who touched the lives of thousands of people from all walks of life.”