Artist who makes sculptures out of LEGO is awarded £144,985 from Arts Council's Covid recovery fund

An artist who makes sculptures out of LEGO has been awarded £144,985 from the Arts Council’s Covid recovery fund which was set up to support venues and performers hit hardest by the pandemic.

Warren Elsmore, 44, quit his job in IT in 2012 to sculpt bespoke designs from the colourful bricks and set up a new Edinburgh-based company. 

His sculptures have included robots and dinosaurs, which he displays pictures of on his social media pages. 

Arts Council England has been handed £500 million to dish out to arts venues hit hard by the pandemic, part of the government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund.

Among the performers to receive part of the fund was drag queen Le Gateau Chocolat, who was handed more than £215,000, while  Liverpool’s Cavern Club, the London Symphony Orchestra and the Yorkshire Sculpture Park in Wakefield have also received backing from the public body.

But renowned Manchester comedy club The Frog and Bucket had their application for funding rejected. 

Lego sculptor Warren Elsmore has received nearly £145,000 from the Arts Council as part of its Covid-19 recovery fund to support artists and venues in the wake of the pandemic

Lego sculptor Warren Elsmore has received nearly £145,000 from the Arts Council as part of its Covid-19 recovery fund to support artists and venues in the wake of the pandemic

Mr Elsmore is described as a freelance artist and author.

His website states: ‘He has been in love with the little plastic bricks since the age of four and now spends his days creating amazing models with LEGO bricks.

‘After fifteen years in a successful IT career, in 2012 Warren moved to working full-time with LEGO bricks, helping businesses realise their own dreams in plastic.’

His company, registered as Warren Elsmore Ltd and based in Coventry, has himself and his wife, 45, and living at the same address in Edinburgh, as directors.

The company last filed £371,262 of capital and reserves in 2019 – up from £340,710 the previous year.

Warren said of the news on his website: ‘COVID-19 has challenged everyone this year, not least those in the events and exhibitions sector.

The company opened its first Covid secure exhibition in August 2020 at Leicester Museum and Art Gallery and filed £371,262 of capital and reserves in 2019

The company opened its first Covid secure exhibition in August 2020 at Leicester Museum and Art Gallery and filed £371,262 of capital and reserves in 2019

The funding to Elsmore came from a £500m pot the Arts Council is using to support artists and venues

The funding to Elsmore came from a £500m pot the Arts Council is using to support artists and venues 

‘Most of our museum venues have been closed at some point during this year and some are still struggling to re-open.

‘Thankfully, we have a little good news. We are delighted to announce today that Warren Elsmore Ltd has been awarded a lifeline grant from the governments’ Culture Recovery Fund.

‘This not only means that we will be able to continue trading through until at least March next year but – just as importantly for us – we can make our exhibitions COVID secure.’ 

Meanwhile, Manchester’s renowned comedy club, The Frog and Bucket, had their grant applications rejected.

George Ikediashi - aka Le Gateau Chocolat - who describes himself as ‘fat, black and bearded,' received more than £215,000 to support his act during the pandemic

George Ikediashi – aka Le Gateau Chocolat – who describes himself as ‘fat, black and bearded,’ received more than £215,000 to support his act during the pandemic

A spokesman from the Frog and Bucket said of the decision: ‘We guess a 56-year-old festival – the oldest independent in the country – that has never needed funding, handouts or grants, always paid wages and bills and been financially viable every single year, is not worth saving.’

A spokesman for the Arts Council said: ‘Warren Elsmore Limited runs high-quality touring exhibitions throughout the UK and has strong partnerships with the museums sector.

‘It’s worth noting that the company opened its first Covid secure exhibition in August 2020 at Leicester Museum and Art Gallery where the exhibition is currently running and has been the centrepiece of the museum’s reopening.’

Liverpool's Cavern Club, which helped launch The Beatles' career, is set to receive a share of the fund set up to support Britain's culture sector

Liverpool’s Cavern Club, which helped launch The Beatles’ career, is set to receive a share of the fund set up to support Britain’s culture sector

The spokesman added of the funding allocations: ‘Our job in administering the government’s Culture Recovery Fund is to rescue the huge variety of culture we all value as a nation, whilst recognising how important it is to protect tax-payers money and invest it wisely on their behalf.

‘We have made over 2,000 awards to organisations that cater to all tastes and interests.

‘The criteria to be awarded a grant are rigorous. All applicants must demonstrate they are at risk of financial failure and that they’ve pursued all other forms of alternative finance.

‘Awards are monitored to ensure that the grants are used for the purposes intended.’ 

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk