About the voluntary arts and crafts

The voluntary arts are those arts and crafts that people undertake for self-improvement, social networking and leisure, but not primarily for payment. The range of artforms is wide and includes folk, dance, drama, literature, media, music, visual arts, crafts and applied arts, and festivals. Voluntary and amateur arts groups are governed or organised by those also participating in the activities.

Rockhopper Morris © Barry Goodman, The Morris Federation

They provide opportunities for people who would not otherwise participate in the arts to do so within their local community and are often associated with other groups and activities (such as learning, religious groups, older people’s groups and women’s organisations). At a time when there is huge competition for time and money, voluntary and amateur groups thrive by utilising the expertise, experience and relationships of their members, their friends, families and the local community.


The voluntary arts are vital to our health, culture, social and economic development.

What’s more, investing and encouraging participation in the voluntary arts offers a cost-effective way of creating social cohesion, a culture of life-long learning and a healthy nation with an enviable quality of life.

This post is also available in: Welsh

Voluntary Arts is the operating name of The Voluntary Arts Network (VAN) which is registered in Scotland as Company No. 139147 and Charity No. SC020345. Registered Office: The Creative Exchange, 29 Constitution Street, Edinburgh EH6 7BS.