What is the Campaign about?

Welsh language information

The Family Arts Campaign is a large scale, national collaborative programme led by the visual and performing arts sectors to increase levels of arts engagement by families. The Campaign focuses on three main areas of work:

  • Increasing the amount and range of high-quality content available
  • Increasing the quality of experience
  • Improving marketing


Who is the Campaign for?

This Campaign is primarily aimed at increasing and broadening audiences and participants for the visual and performing arts sectors generally, though our work is focused on those organisations who are members of our partner organisations, as well as ACE’s National Portfolio Organisations (NPOs).

Other organisations not part of one of the identified groups above, including museums, libraries, and educational establishements, are also welcome and encouraged to access all aspects of the Campaign.

Who is running the Campaign?

The Family Arts Campaign is an initiative of ten organisations & trade bodies:

Association of British Orchestras Independent Theatre Council Society of London Theatre UK THEATRE_CORE_rgb_100





Between 2012 – 2015 the consortium was awarded an initial grant of National Lottery funds by Arts Council England to develop a campaign focusing on the development of family arts engagement. The Campaign is currently funded by ACE until March 2017.


The Family Arts Campaign in Wales is being run for the Arts Council of Wales by Fieldwork in partnership with the UK Family Arts Campaign team, until April 2017. fieldworking.co.uk


The campaign is overseen by a Project Board:

Cassie Chadderton Head of UK Theatre & Membership Development, UK Theatre
Charlotte Jones Chief Executive, Independent Theatre Council
Cath Hume Executive Director, Arts Marketing Association
Robert O’Dowd Chief Executive, Rose Theatre Kingston
Julian Bird Chief Executive, Society of London Theatre
Matthew Swann Chief Executive, City of London Sinfonia
Mark Pemberton Director, Association of British Orchestras
Katy Spicer Chief Executive & Artistic Director, efdss
Anne Torreggiani Executive Director, The Audience Agency
Karla Barnacle-Best CEO, Discover Children’s Story Centre
Lisa Mead Artistic Director, Apples and Snakes
Gordon Dalton National Coordinator, Contemporary Visual Arts Network
Gavin Barlow Chief Executive/Artistic Director, The Albany

Central co-ordination is led by a small team:

Jenny Daly Head of Campaign
Clair Donnelly  Project Manager


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Award Winner: Thelma Hulbert Gallery


Thelma Hulbert Gallery - Halloween Party

As we gear up for the next lot of Fantastic for Families awards, we’re shining the spotlight on last year’s well deserved winners.

Here we hear from Fiona Page-Turner, Marketing & Fundraising Officer for Thelma Hulbert Gallery, on their Award Winning Halloween Party event:


We decided to open the gallery from 5-9pm for an after-hours family Halloween event to celebrate the national Museums At Night. Our primary aim was to appeal to young families who might feel intimidated entering a gallery space and particularly to encourage those who had never visited a gallery before. We had noticed that there seemed to be no Halloween events for families in Honiton so Saturday 29 October seemed a good date to hold the event.

The main departure for us was opening late especially for a family event. (We normally close at 5pm). We designed a striking poster and fliers to promote the event locally. Emails and newsletters highlighting the event were sent to our core database, which already included families who attended our workshops. To reach new visitors, we targeted local newspapers and magazines, local listings/what’s on websites, social media channels particularly Facebook groups, local schools newsletters and advertised in the Devon Primary Times magazine.

We wanted a range of food options to appeal to families so contacted local food vendors selling wood-fired pizzas and Caribbean food.

Thelma Hulbert Gallery - Halloween Party

The garden was illuminated with pumpkins and red hanging paper lanterns, there was a pop-up cocktail bar in a fairy-lit gazebo and local food stalls. Children enjoyed a treasure hunt and participated in a workshop making their own bat boxes to take home. Inside the gallery space was a DJ playing family-friendly tracks and free scary-face-painting alongside a community exhibition featuring Eduardo Paolozzi-inspired artworks created in family and schools workshops. Upstairs in the Learning Room families made their own shadow puppets with artist Willem Montagne and then performed with them in a shadow play. In the Project Space, families encountered exotic animals such as snakes, lizards, skunks and spiders from Exeter Exotics including a six foot python and had the chance to meet and, if they were brave, stroke them! Making full use of our new community garden using straw bales for seats meant families could relax with young children and have space to socialise.

Over 600 participants of all ages attended the event and we won Best Family Event for our contribution to the 2016 Get Creative Family Arts Festival.

A large proportion of visitors on the night had never visited a gallery and were really surprised to find what a fun space it was. They also commented that it was a good alternative for families on Halloween to trick-or-treating.

We decided to make the event free to appeal to cash-strapped young families but took donations at each activity and at the gate. One of the visitors commented, “We went along to the free to enter night with no expectations but were greatly surprised to find the whole event well organised and very well planned and executed.”

We were overwhelmed by the popularity of the event and in fact it was the busiest event in our 16 year history! We aimed to challenge expectations of an art gallery and stretch our offer. The gallery became a playful, family space with a different atmosphere from the daytime gallery experience.


Applications for the Fantastic for Families Awards are open until 10th January 2018. Find out more and apply.

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