The Voluntary Arts Network is holding a conference next month that will consolidate its efforts to build stronger links with the mainstream third sector. Robin Simpson, chief executive of the organisation, has had meetings with the NCVO, Acevo and other umbrella groups. Acevo has now created a specialist arts interest group, and Simpson has taken up a seat on the board of the NCVO.
"Until recently, there has been a blind spot in the arts, so that organisations haven't felt involved in the third sector - but that's beginning to change," Simpson told Third Sector.
"There's a lot we can learn from the voluntary sector about best practice in areas such as governance. We've missed out on a lot of the capacity-building exercises that have taken place.
"There's also a lot of funding that arts groups haven't gone for because they haven't seen themselves as voluntary organisations."
Stuart Etherington, chief executive of the NCVO, said he and the leaders of other bodies had started to look into how the arts could be more involved in the administration of the charity sector after a series of joint protests about lottery money being spent on the Olympics.
"We want to make arts groups aware of the opportunities available to them," he said. "There is certainly a will on both sides to create closer relationships. It is now a question of people not falling back into their own silos - which is easy to do."
At a conference on building local voluntary and amateur arts participation on 2 July, the VAN will invite its members to discuss ways in which they can engage better with their local communities, access voluntary sector funding and communicate effectively with other voluntary organisations.
The network will also carry out a survey on arts and community involvement, including the connection with adult education, sponsored by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.
The Voluntary Arts Network is holding a conference in London on 2 July to discuss how arts charities can engage with other voluntary organisations
Stuart Etherington, chief executive of the NCVO, says he wants to make arts groups aware of the opportunities available to them
VAN is also carrying out a government-sponsored survey on arts involvement with local communities.