I am not going to talk about the Olympic Games; you may be pleased to hear. Whilst there's so much for us to celebrate in sport over the next few weeks, attention must also be paid to the part the arts has to play in making 2012 a year for our country to remember.

There's no denying that the sheer scale of Olympic events combined with the dedication and determination of athletes is something to applaud. Sport lies after all at the core of the Olympics, and instils the values of pride and ambition amongst participants and spectators alike. However is it right that this should continue to take first place?

Looking back to the ancient origins of Olympic history, it was believed that both athletes and artists took equal precedence. In order for nations to stop fighting they were to listen to the artists and watch the athletes, forming the basis of an Olympic spirit. Up until as recently as 1948, medals were even awarded to those who had contributed to culture as well as to sport. Is this recognition still as clear today?

Arguably yes. Winning the bid for the games has not only done wonders in increasing sporting awareness but artistic appreciation too. Opening the country's cultural eyes, projects like the London 2012 Festival make for a summer never likely to be seen again.

So what's so special about the project? If you can think of another festival the size of the entire country lasting for ten weeks then give yourself a pat on the back. I imagine you will all remain pat less. Spanning the worlds of Art and Design, Comedy, Dance, Film, Heritage, Music, Carnival, Poetry and Theatre, there really is space for everyone to find their own little bit of cultural gold.

Not inspiring you enough? Let me take you through a typical week.

An evening can be spent watching Circus companies perform aerial acrobatics skills from inside some of the UK's most beautiful Cathedrals. How about venturing out the following day to a life size replica of Stonehenge as a bouncy castle? Anything is possible.

Looking for something a little more relaxed? West End theatre The Criterion puts on two weeks of new plays and comedy concerts featuring the likes of Stephen Fry.

There's something out there for the musically minded too, intimate outdoor events are followed by evenings like Urban Classics where musical cultures meet. Who would have thought that the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Ms Dynamite and Skepta would make music together?

Events such as Big Dance 2012 are also taking place nationwide throughout the summer, inviting anyone and everyone to enjoy the freedom of movement under the guidance of top choreographers.

If you wanted to, you could even visit the Olympic medals themselves at the British Museum. Never before has a list been so endless.

Such an interactive array of opportunities set out for the summer has got top literary tongues wagging. At a reading for her latest work ‘Eton Manor’, the current Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy spoke out about the importance of art within an Olympic season:

"The original Olympics involved poetry as well as sport, celebrating the wholeness of human endeavour.

I think it is very good they are echoing the early spirit of the Olympics, as it would be a shame not to bring the arts into people's focus.”

Without the influence of the arts and culture, it is hard to see how an Olympic spirit would continue to remain. You may argue, how is a sculpture or a piece of music relevant to competitive sport? It is relevant in that it brings people together; their interactions and opinions form an appreciation not at all far from watching an athlete heading for a 100m victory.

2012 sees the world quite literally communicating on our doorstep. As well as showcasing a fantastic summer of sport, why not get involved with what else we have on offer? Be Olympic; connect with culture.

The London 2012 Festival takes place nationwide from 21st June to 9th September.


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