A BLAST from the past this week helped to launch an ambitious bid for £2 million to help spread arts and culture far and wide across Rotherham.
A DeLorean sports car just like the one in 1980s classic Back to the Future rolled into St Ann’s as the Flux Capacitor project - its name inspired by the key piece of kit powering Marty McFly’s four-wheeled time machine - was unveiled.
Pupils from Coleridge Primary School had a close look at the iconic film car when it parked up outside the Unity Centre last Wednesday.
It had already taken a trip to the Arts Council’s offices in Leeds to announce the borough’s interest in tapping into a pot of money earmarked for spots where involvement in the arts is low.
A consortium headed by Voluntary Action Rotherham and including numerous art and leisure-focused bodies is bidding for four years of funding from the Arts Council’s Creative People and Places fund.
Julie Adamson, of Voluntary Action Rotherham, said of the Leeds stunt: “It was a big success with people in the building - everyone wanted to see it.
“It was about showing we’re creative and we can stand out from the crowd.
“For whatever reason, people in Rotherham tend to see arts and culture as a luxury rather than a necessity, even though research has shown people in places where involvement is higher have better mental and physical health.
“We want people to be proud to say they’re from Rotherham and we think arts and culture can help with that.
“This is about changing Rotherham’s story, revisiting our past to go forward, which is why we’ve linked it with Back to the Future.”
Julie said in practice the funding could be used for community arts projects and to arrange for top level arts figures to visit the town and inspire residents.
“We want to bring some really big stuff so people don’t have to go to the likes of Leeds or Hull,” she said.
Emma Sharp from Rotherham Ethnic Minority Alliance, which is backing the bid, said a discussion around what theme the bid should take had thrown up thoughts of Back to the Future’s flux capacitor - a hi-tech piece of equipment powered by plutonium which allows young hero Marty to flit between the decades.
The official bid document was presented in a cover recreating that of Grays Sports Almanac - a key prop in the 1980s film series - and the DeLorean seemed the icing on the cake for the launch, said Emma.
Emma added: “It is all about getting to people who don’t usually engage in arts and culture.
“We hope people will come in time to see Rotherham as a place for art.”
The consortium involved in the funding bid, which will be assessed by the summer, include Rotherham Open Arts Renaissance, Grimm and Co, Wentworth Woodhouse Preservation Trust, REMA and Rotherham Borough Council.