BOURNEMOUTH’S pioneering Arts by the Sea Festival has been guaranteed £450,000 of public money in the next round of Arts Council grants.

The festival – now in its fourth year – has brought the town a host of arts events in the autumn.

Highlights have included dance, theatre, silent movies in the now defunct Pier Theatre and even the ‘virtual’ demolition of the Imax cinema – which was staged via light show before the building disappeared for real.

Bournemouth council, which organises the festival, has been added to the Arts Council’s ‘portfolio’ of organisations to receive funding from 2015-18.

Cllr Lawrence Williams, Bournemouth council’s cabinet member for leisure, culture and tourism, said the grant award for the Arts by the Sea Festival was ‘fantastic’.

He added: “Taking art outside and placing it in the gardens and on the beach, ensures the festival reaches people who wouldn’t normally visit a theatre or art gallery.”

The biggest Arts Council subsidy locally continues to go to Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra (BSO), which will see its grant remain at around £2.5million – a real terms cut of 4.7 per cent by 2018. The orchestra tours the region and works with schools and the community.

Poole Arts Trust, which runs the Lighthouse, and Pavilion Dance South West in Bournemouth, will see their grants fall in real terms by the same figure, drawing £342,213 and £336,216 respectively in 2018.

Dougie Scarfe, chief executive of the BSO, said: ‘We are proud that your local world-class orchestra the BSO has secured Arts Council funding for another three years.

“We would like to thank everyone for their continued support of the orchestra in its 121st year.

“As the only professional UK orchestra based outside a major city, the BSO will continue to deliver the highest quality performance and engagement, aiming to make music accessible to all across the South and South West.”

Deryck Newland, artistic director for Pavilion South West, said the grant award was an expression of trust by the Arts Council.

“This endorsement comes at a time when the significant development work we have put into building relationships with local, regional and national partners is beginning to bear fruit,” he said.