Islamic Art Banner scoops the first ever Epic award

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AN award out of the blue is a ‘great omen’ for 2011 for a local community group.

The Milton Keynes Islamic Arts Heritage and Culture Organisation scooped the Epic Partnership award with their Islamic Art Banner - a project that enabled local students to explore Islamic culture through contemporary and traditional art.

The first ever Epic Awards took place last month, and are organised by Voluntary Arts England to promote arts participation.

Anour Kassim, chairman of the MKIAHC, was delighted to win the award.

He said: “We were very excited to be nominated, and it was a great surprise to be told that we had won - it is a great omen for the New Year.

“This is something new for Milton Keynes - no-one has won this award for this type of thing before.

“We are very pleased to have been recognised for the work we have been doing with Milton Keynes College, with the students there and with all our volunteers.

“We saw off around 50,000 other nominees, so it makes me and all of the volunteers very proud.

“I think what makes us stand out is that we are different, the work we do is different and we are multi-cultural. Although we are the Islamic Art Heritage, we let everyone in and everyone take part.”

Mr Kassim also revealed he still does not know who nominated the group for the award. “I’m glad that whoever did nominate us thought to do so, and we are very grateful that they did. It came out of the blue, these awards are things you only really dream of, so we are very pleased.”

Alan Davey, Chief Executive of Arts Council England, the organisation who funded the scheme, praised the nominees and the the diverse groups that were going great work in their comminities.

He said: “The winning groups demonstrated the vibrancy of the sector and its ability to enrich local communities by engaging people in high quality artistic activity.”

For more information visit www.mkach.org.uk