Sky Arts heading to Freeview, plans more Portrait Artist of the Week paint-alongs

Sky Arts will become a free channel from this September, available on Freeview as well as within Sky’s own channel bouquet. The UK’s only channel dedicated to arts and culture says it will embark on an ambitious programme of activity to support and champion the arts, ‘putting artists, creatives, and public participation centre stage on a channel that everyone across the UK can watch on Freeview.’

The move will be a boost for the arts, as the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to wreak havoc with the UK’s cultural landscape.

Broadcaster Sky has announced a new slate of original programmes, plus ‘increased and deepened partnerships with artists and arts organisations, providing them with a platform to create and showcase their work.’ 

Broadcaster Sky has announced a new slate of original programmes, and will deepen partnerships with artists and arts organisations…

Goldie docu heads to sky Arts

The channel says it will continue its Portrait Artist of the Week, the live-streamed paint-along version of the channel’s flagship series Portrait Artist of the Year, which has been a huge success online. Complementing this, Portrait Artist of the Year will return at the same time, with new celebrity sitters including Normal People’s Paul Mescal, First Dates front-of-house Fred Sirieux, singer Ray BLK and Sir Trevor McDonald.

Other highlights include a documentary of artist and musician Goldie, Danny Dyer pontificating on the life and works of Harold Pinter and Sky Arts Late, a new monthly arts and culture show. Team TLR is also looking forward to Brian Johnson meets Dave Grohl, wherein the AC/DC frontman hangs out and chats at the Foo Fighters’ studio in Los Angeles.

To support new arts talent, the channel will launch a series of bursaries worth £30,000 each, that will see leading figures from the arts support and mentor diverse and emerging new artists.

Brian Johnson meets Dave Grohl on Sky Arts

“As a creative business, we believe it’s important to have a thriving cultural sector. By making Sky Arts free for everyone we want to give more artists and arts organisations a platform to create and share their work and to bring more art and culture to everyone across the UK,” says Sky EVP and CEO Stephen van Rooyen.

Sky Arts On Demand library of content will remain exclusive to Sky and NOW TV Entertainment Pass customers.

“There’s never been a stronger need or demand for the arts, nor a more important time to champion and celebrate creativity,” adds Philip Edgar-Jones, Director of Sky Arts. “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 per cent and our weekly live paint-along show, Portrait Artist of The Week, reached 4.6 million people with over 20,000 portraits painted.”

About Steve May

Creator of Home Cinema Choice magazine, and editor of The Luxe Review, Steve muses and reviews for Trusted Reviews, T3, Yahoo UK, Home Cinema Choice, Games Radar, Ideal Home, Louder Sounds, Channel News and Boat International. He’s also the editor of professional home cinema website Inside CI. He's on Twitter and Instagram as @SteveMay_UK

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