We’re delighted to announce England’s Arts Council has just announced its National Portfolio Organisations for the next four years – and the Lakes International Comic Art Festival is one of them, securing long-term funding for its ambitious comic art development and promotion plans, which include the annual Festival in October in Kendal.

Responding to the news, Festival Director Julie Tait said she was proud that comic art is now part of the Arts Council’s National Portfolio, and thanked the organisation’s many “amazing” creators, audiences and volunteers.

Some 831 organisations have received Arts Council funding in their 2018-22 portfolio, 183 of them new. They receive a total of £1.6 billion over four years for 844 projects across the UK.

“We’ve focused on ensuring that this is a diverse portfolio that will produce work relevant to the world we live in,” said the Arts Council’s Chief Executive, Darren Henley, “as well as supporting fresh talent and artists from many different backgrounds and representing different perspectives.

“The arts, and society generally, urgently need to draw on the huge resources of our national diversity.

“This portfolio has emerged from an exhaustive and rigorous process, from initial consultations with the sector, through to the final balancing decisions. Financially, we’ve committed all we can to this new portfolio because we believe that this is the right time.

“Up and down England there are organisations, villages, towns and cities that will benefit hugely from this investment.”

The Lakes International Comic Art Festival, which returns to Kendal 13th – 15th October 2017,  is the only one of its kind in the UK, taking place in one of the UK’s most beautiful areas – the English Lake District in the North West of the country, in the market town of Kendal.

Modelled on European-style festivals, such as Angoulême in France, it takes over the whole town for a weekend of comic art. Its aim is to celebrate the whole spectrum of comic art, inspiring existing comic art fans and creators and, it hopes, generating new audiences and creators too. It invests in creators through a commissioning programme and has an emphasis on developing international collaborations.

The full programme of events for this year’s Festival is now live on the Festival web site, along with details about its new Weekend Pass. The main events programme will be exclusive to pass-holders, there will be exclusive guest-related goodies and a fancy wristband identifying you as a festival supporter.

Guests include Sergio Aragones, Jason Latour, Stan Sakai from the United States, Michael Cho, Ryan North, Mariko and Jillian Tamaki and Chip Zdarsky from Canada, Bruce Mutard and Stuart Medley from Australia; plus, from the UK and Ireland Comics Laureate and Walking Dead artist Charlie Adlard, Hannah Berry; Gareth Brookes, Darryl Cunningham, Joe Decie; Graham Dury and Simon Thorp, the Etherington Brothers, Duncan Fegredo, Marc Jackson, Lew Stringer, Bryan Talbot and Mary M. Talbot and Emma Vieceli. Celebrating 40 years of 2000AD will be Peter Milligan and Steve MacManus. European guests include Ivan Petrus (recently interviewed here) and Benoit Peeters.