Mission, Vision and Values

The Contemporary Visual Arts Network represents and supports a diverse and vibrant visual arts ecology, embracing a broad range of artistic and curatorial practice across the nine English regions.

Our Mission is to support and promote the visibility and resilience of the contemporary visual arts ecology in England, advocating for our regional arts institutions, spaces, and artists, and working for a sustainable future for our world-class contemporary visual arts sector.

Our Vision embraces the broadest range of visual arts expression in a multi-disciplinary, innovative, and resilient contemporary visual arts practice.

View CVAN’s national strategy to 2021 here


Our Values

  • We are sector led and mutually supportive.

  • We celebrate the distinctiveness and different contexts of the regions.

  • We embrace a broad range of artistic and curatorial practice.

  • We recognise and draw upon the expertise of regional groups to collectively build knowledge for the sector to share.

  • We are committed to collaborating and advocating for each other in order to benefit contemporary visual arts as a whole.

We have a consistent message regionally and nationally about the network and the visual arts sector as a whole, and we encourage members to advocate these messages:

  • Contemporary visual arts are at the heart of our nation, and are central to what makes us expressive and creative individuals within society.

  • The UK’s contemporary visual arts sector is the world leader in this field making a significant contribution to the competitive advantage of our creative industries overall, contributing to the UK’s global influence, and to our attractiveness for inward investment.

  • The sector’s contribution to national and regional economies, and to society in general, far outweighs the small amount of public subsidy it receives. Artistic creation accounts for 25% of the total GVA for the cultural industries. The non-market segment (that’s public galleries and other subsidised arts) accounted for an estimated 20 per cent of the GVA contribution of the entire arts and culture industry [Contribution of Arts & Culture to the UK Economy Report, 2017]. For every pound invested in arts and culture, an additional £1.06 is generated in the economy [CIF Report 2015]. Visual arts organisations have done disproportionately well in attracting private investment, we are 17% of the culture sector but accounted for 32 per cent of total private investment [ACE Private Investment Survey 2016].

How does this work in practice? 

The regional networks develop programmes of activity that are specific to their regional needs. This provides direct benefit to the visual arts sector, ensures an impact at grass roots level and is often informed by extensive consultation with artists and arts organisations about what their needs are. Most regional groups have a core group of members that make up a Steering Group. This group oversees the work of the regional Coordinators, programme delivery and expenditure of funds (where applicable).

However, regional networks cannot address or deliver provision or support to every need within the visual arts, so they all work in partnership with other networks and organisations to provide support, while accepting that their impact has to be where they feel, strategically, that the demand is greatest for their region and where they feel they can adequately deliver.

What makes the regional networks a national network? 

CVAN’s national Director works with a national steering group made up of regional CVAN Chairs to set and deliver a national advocacy agenda for CVAN. We work closely with the CVAN regions and with key sector and creative industries organisations to ensure that the voice of the contemporary visual arts sector is clearly heard by national creative policymakers.

While priorities and delivery differ at regional level, all regional networks subscribe to our collective mission, vision and values which detail our overarching ambition. It is this unification of message that is met through delivery at regional level via the 11 groups.