HRH The Prince of Wales visits a Pupil Referral Unit in Balsall Heath, West Midlands where an inspirational teacher is teaching Romeo & Juliet to a group of teenagers. Without the means necessary to take them to see it performed live on stage, HRH The Prince of Wales kindly secures tickets through the Royal Shakespeare Company for the young people to see the Stratford-upon-Avon production.

He realises that many other children are missing out on vital access to the arts and has the idea for The Arts & Kids Project.


HRH The Prince of Wales and Colin Tweedy (then Chief Executive of Arts & Business,) discuss the profound life-changing benefits of early engagement with the arts, particularly for children who otherwise struggle within mainstream education.


Arts & Business and HRH The Prince of Wales launch “Arts & Kids” at Buckingham Palace and apply to the Millennium Commission for project funding.

Rebecca Eastmond joins as Director of Arts & Kids.


£1M is awarded by the Millennium Commission in Spring 2003 for a two year project to provide visits to live performances, in tandem with workshops or other longer term engagement, for 8,750 children.

The first ever Arts & Kids Week takes place, in partnership with Classic FM and supported by Yamaha, to encourage every child in the UK to visit their local arts venue during the October half term.


Arts & Kids runs the first StoryQuest festival, championed by Michael Morpurgo and Quentin Blake, and funded by The Millennium Commission amongst others

The Prince of Wales Arts & Kids Foundation is established.


Two year Millennium Commission funded project ends engaging 27,073 children in live performance, well in excess of the target of 8,750 children.

The “Start” project model is piloted with a small scale programme developed in partnership with English National Ballet, called “An Invitation to Dance”.

“In the Land of Illustrations” takes place encouraging children across the UK to take a fresh look at where they live. Working with professional artists and illustrators, the work they create is exhibited in local shopping centres.

Rick Wills is appointed Chairman of Arts & Kids


The Prince of Wales Arts & Kids Foundation becomes an independent charity. Start begins in schools and the first Great Art Quest and second StoryQuest projects launch.

TRH The Prince of Wales & Duchess of Cornwall visit Stocksfield Avenue Primary School in Newcastle-upon-Tyne to see their StoryQuest project.


The charity becomes fully independent of Arts & Business, creates an independent brand and changes its name to The Prince’s Foundation for Children & the Arts.

Projects include Start, TheatreQuest MusicQuest and the StoryQuest festival.

Children & the Arts’ inaugural Carol Concert is held at St James’s Church, Piccadilly, including readings Jeremy Irons, Rowan Atkinson and Kate Adie.


TRH Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall attend the TheatreQuest finale held at the Unicorn Theatre.

HRH The Prince of Wales hosts a Gala dinner and performance involving Sir Ian McKellen, Jude Law, BalletBoyz, Philharmonia Orchestra, Penelope Wilton, Alfie Boe, Vivienne Westwood and Jeremy Irons at Buckingham Palace introducing new supporters to the charity.

Projects include Start, ArchitectureQuest pilot, MusicQuest, Great Art Quest and Create-a-Quest.

Six teacher training days are piloted across the UK called ‘Catalyst – Inspiring Arts Ideas for Teachers’

Jeremy Newton is appointed Chief Executive.


The first ever PoetryQuest is launched.

The Catalyst teacher training programme officially launches.

TRH The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall attend the Royal Premiere of Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens, held in aid of Children & the Arts.

The Royal Premiere of Disney’s Alice in Wonderland in aid of Children & the Arts takes place at the Odeon, Leicester Square.


DesignQuest launches.

Children & the Arts commissions the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) to conduct a longitudinal study into the Start programme.

Patrick Hawes, composer and Ambassador of Children & the Arts, creates ‘The Highgrove Suite’ to celebrate the 60th Birthday of HRH The Prince of Wales, and premieres it at a gala dinner at Highgrove in aid of Children & the Arts.


DesignQuest 2010/11 culminates in an exhibition and catwalk show held at Banqueting House, attended by HRH Duchess of Cornwall.

Face Britain launches in honour of HM The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee (2012). Children & the Arts invites all young people aged 4-16 years to create a self-portrait and upload it to a special online gallery.


Start Hospices officially launches in London, Ipswich and Newcastle.

Face Britain attracts over 200,000 portraits and achieves the Guinness World Records title for ‘most artists working on the same art installation’. Entries are celebrated via BBC Big Screens in UK city centres and projected onto Buckingham Palace as part of a very special three night Jubilee celebration in April 2012.

Well known artists, sports personalities and celebrities take part in Face Britain, creating their own self portraits to be auctioned via eBay and at a celebration event held at Christie’s auction house, King Street.

The Prince of Wales, accompanied by The Duchess of Cornwall, introduces The Duchess of Cambridge to Children & the Arts’ work at a special project visit to meet pupils from local primary schools who have been participating in Children & the Arts’ Great Art Quest with Dulwich Picture Gallery and Face Britain projects.


OperaQuest launches.

Children & the Arts lead a ‘Relaxed Performances’ theatre project, in partnership with Society of London Theatre and Theatrical Management Association, working with 10 theatres across the UK to open up access to the theatre for children with special needs. HRH Prince of Wales hosts a special gala dinner and performance at Buckingham Palace including performances by Danielle de Niese, Julian Ovenden and Adrian Lester to thank supporters of Children & the Arts.

Neil Mendoza is appointed Chairman.


Due to time constraints, HRH The Prince of Wales steps down as President of the charity to become Patron.

Children & the Arts is chosen as the beneficiary charity for The Henley Arts Festival.

The Be Inspired contemporary art auction and party is held at the Saatchi Gallery including a live auction, and online auction of over 100 pieces of contemporary art.


The Children & the Arts’ Patron Programme launches at The Dover Street Arts Club, inviting individuals to support the charity.

Children & the Arts partners with its 100th arts venue through Start – Shetland Arts.


Children & the Arts celebrates its tenth anniversary as an independent charity.

HRH The Prince of Wales hosts a gala dinner and performance at St James’s Palace to thank donors of the charity and celebrate the charity’s special anniversary. Performers include Hugh Bonneville, Dame Harriet Walter, Julian Ovenden, Joseph Fiennes and Joe Stilgoe.

The first Children & the Arts’ Quiz takes place, hosted at Rosewood London, Holborn.


Christie’s hosts a major fundraising auction - Be Inspired - on our behalf, featuring works by leading contemporary artists such as Martin Creed, Jake and Dinos Chapman, Jonas Burgert and Gavin Turk.

The 11th annual Children & the Arts Carol Concert, broadcast by Classic FM, features prominent charity Ambassadors including Academy Award-nominee Felicity Jones, Adrian Lester OBE and Brian Blessed OBE and musical performances by singers Carly Paoli and Shaun Escoffery, violinist Jennifer Pike, celebrated composer Nigel Hess and the Gospel Choir of St Paul's and All Hallows’ School, Tottenham.

Children & the Arts confirms agreements with 6 Arts Council England Bridge Organisations, ensuring that a large proportion of funds raised by the charity are matched pound-for-pound through Partnership Investment from statutory sources.

What Next?

Since 2006, we have introduced nearly half a million children to their local arts venue, improving their academic skills and developing their emotional intelligence through inspiring arts activities.

But our work is more important now than ever. Arts education in state schools is under increasing pressure as arts departments suffer cuts. The number of specialist teachers and the number of hours taught for arts subjects have both fallen by 15% since 2010.

We don’t want any child to be left behind due to circumstance, and aim to enhance the lives of a million children in the next ten years.

Help us to make this happen