The arts and culture channel Sky Arts is to be made free for everyone across the U.K. this September.
The move to become free-to-air will include a new slate of original programs and increased and deepened partnerships with artists and arts organizations, providing them with a platform to create and showcase their work. To support new talent, the channel will launch a series of bursaries, worth £30,000 each, that will see figures from the arts support and mentor diverse and emerging new artists.
While the Sky Arts linear channel will be made free for everyone, the Sky Arts On Demand library of arts content, with more than 2,000 hours of shows, will remain exclusive to Sky and NOW TV Entertainment Pass customers.
Philip Edgar-Jones, director of Sky Arts, said: “There’s never been a stronger need or demand for the arts, nor a more important time to champion and celebrate creativity. That’s why we’re throwing open the doors to make Sky Arts a free channel. During lockdown, we’ve seen audiences to the channel increase by 50 percent and our weekly live paint-along show, Portrait Artist of The Week, reached 4.6 million people with over 20,000 portraits painted.
“As a free-to-air channel I hope that Sky Arts can help arts organizations and cultural institutions of all shapes and sizes across the U.K., providing them with a platform to create and showcase their work to a broad audience. With our renewed focus and mission to increase accessibility and participation across the arts, we want to hear from everyone with ideas for how we might be able to work together—we can only succeed with artists and creatives at the heart of what we do.”