London 2012 changes places

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In mid–March 2009, London 2012 CEO Paul Deighton joined over 50 volunteers in East London to launch 'London 2012 Changing Places'.

London 2012 Changing Places' is a programme aimed at securing lasting environmental and social benefits for the communities surrounding the Olympic Park and other Olympic venues. The programme aims to engage local people to actively support efforts to improve their local environment, helping to educate, train and provide volunteering opportunities for local people. The programme will promote and support projects already being delivered by existing environmental groups and create new projects devised by community groups which identify and organise work in their local area. The volunteers gathered at Three Mills Island, adjacent to the Olympic Park in the UK capital city to cut back the overgrown vegetation, remove graffiti and remediate the tow path by the canal. The day was organised by London 2012 in association with Thames21, a London–based environmental charity which works with communities to bring the city's waterways to life. The programme will initially run in the five host boroughs, with an aspiration to roll out across London and around other London 2012 venues outside the city. More information on existing and forthcoming projects and how to get involved, can be found on www. london2012. comMeanwhile, artists of all kinds from across the UK are being challenged to use the nation as a blank canvas for 12 inspirational commissions that will showcase the UK's creativity to the world, as part of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad. 'Artists taking the lead' is the most ambitious and wide ranging art prize in the UK and is being developed by Arts Council England, in partnership with London 2012 and the arts councils of Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Twelve commissions of up to £500, 000 will be awarded to create 12 new works of art across the country; one in each of the nine English regions, and in the nations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. 'Artists taking the lead' is the first of 10 major projects of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad to be launched. It provides artists across the country with an unparalleled opportunity to create work that celebrates the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and reflects the rich cultural diversity of the UK. Moira Sinclair, executive director of Arts Council England, London, said on behalf of the UK arts councils: "The London 2012 bid was always about more than England's capital city and about more than sport. Artists taking the lead illustrates that bigger, bolder vision–of art inspiring people up and down the UK to celebrate the Olympic Games, of nurturing and developing our artistic talent, and of culture and creativity at the heart of our national life. We're excited to be laying down such a unique challenge to artists. We want them to look at their region and their connections with fresh eyes, to mark a moment in our histories in unexpected ways and places across the country, to surprise and delight the world with their extraordinary artistic vision. "The submitted ideas will be judged by panels in each of the nations and regions, made up of artists, the Creative Programmers (representatives of London 2012 outside the capital who help to shape the UK–wide Cultural Olympiad), and an Arts Council representative. Arts Council England expects to announce the shortlisted artists in July 2009, and the final twelve commissions in October 2009. The successful commissions will be developed across 2010 and 2011, and all 12 will take part in a final unifying celebration before the opening of the London 2012 Olympic Games. Until Friday 29 May 2009, UK–based artists can submit their ideas for the commissions online at www. artiststakingthelead. org. uk

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