Inspire Youth Arts' Andy Dawson shortlisted for Hearts for the Arts Award!

Published 14th January 2021

The shortlist has been announced for the National Campaign for the Arts' (NCA) Hearts For The Arts Awards 2021. The awards celebrate the unsung heroes of Local Authorities who are championing the arts against all odds.


Andy Dawson, Manager at Inspire Youth Arts, has been nominated for Best Arts Champion – Local Authority or Cultural Trust Worker for his work as Service Manager, strategically planning and securing funds to deliver fantastic create journeys for young people across Nottinghamshire.


This year’s Hearts for the Arts Award winners will be selected from the shortlist by a judging panel of key arts industry experts and practitioners, including:


Le Gateau Chocolat, Drag artiste and cabaret performer

Paul Hartnoll, musician, composer, founder member of Orbital

Adrian Lester CBE, actor and director

Petra Roberts, Cultural Development Manager, Hackney Council (2020 winners for the Windrush Generations Festival)

Samuel West, actor, director, Chair of the National Campaign for the Arts


Despite the incredible hardships faced by Local Authorities in 2020, this year's awards have seen the NCA receive a record-breaking number of nominations, as local communities turned to the arts for solace, strength and connectivity during the pandemic. 


Nominations were received from across the UK for each of the three award categories: Best Arts Project; Best Arts Champion - Local Authority or Cultural Trust Worker; and Best Arts Champion – Councillor.


The shortlist was judged by representatives from some of this year’s partners in the awards: Culture Counts; Wales Council for Voluntary Action; Local Government Association; National Campaign for the Arts; and Voluntary Arts Wales.


Discussing Andy’s nomination, Hearts for the Arts Award partners said:

Wow! Andy is outstanding. His work for young people and the arts in Nottinghamshire is far reaching. He is evidently a tireless campaigner for the arts and his positive attitude and big picture approach has led to significant impact in many areas, and has
ensured culture has a real voice in the larger organisation.


In response to being shortlisted, Andy Dawson said: “I’m absolutely thrilled to be shortlisted for this award, but without the amazing team of colleagues and artists I work with it just wouldn’t be possible to achieve what we have over the past 20 plus years, constantly striving to improve the lives of young people in Nottinghamshire through the arts.”


Under normal circumstances the Inspire Youth Arts team usually deliver a range of music, dance and digital projects from its Mansfield base (at The Old Library on Leeming Street) and across the whole of Nottinghamshire, including a mixture of workshops, events, installations and showcases, usually reaching 1500-2000 young people each year. However, with the start of lockdown much of their programme has been successfully moved online - click here to check out the full listing of their online provision.


The winners of the Hearts for the Arts Awards 2021 will be announced on Valentine’s Day, 14th February.


The National Campaign for the Arts present the Hearts for the Arts Awards each year. The awards are delivered by the NCA, in partnership with Culture Counts; the Local Government Association; Thrive; UK Theatre; Voluntary Arts Wales, Wales Council for Voluntary Action.


For more information on the shortlisted nominees visit

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