Arts Council England has approved £1m of funding towards an Arts & Culture Festival to accompany the Tour De France’s Grand Depart in Yorkshire.

The plan is to showcase Yorkshire as a creative county in the 100 days leading up to the start of next year’s Tour. It will include keynote commissions to animate the Grand Depart and the Tour’s route through the region. It’s the first time such a festival has run alongside the cycle race in its 110 year history.

Organisers are now hoping to raise £1m in matched funding to deliver the project.

“I’m delighted that we are able to help fund the Arts and Cultural Festival that will celebrate the Tour de France’s visit to Yorkshire. It will showcase all that is great about Yorkshire arts and culture as well as providing an opportunity for specially commissioned work. Building excitement across the region in the run up to the Tour de France, I can’t think of a better way to mark the historic occasion of the Grand Départ taking place in Yorkshire,” said Cluny Macpherson, regional director, Arts Council England.

Bafta-winning television and film producer, David Lascelles, the Earl of Harewood will chair the steering group which will determine what will be in the festival programme. Local people will also have a say, as they can register their suggestions online. Calderdale Council’s director of communities, Robin Tuddenham will be the local authority lead for the project.

“We are delighted to have secured funding to deliver an ambitious programme of events to celebrate the arrival of the Tour de France in Yorkshire. It will be a fantastic opportunity for the whole county to share in the excitement and interest that will be building in the run-up to the 2014 Tour de France, helping to put Yorkshire on the map for millions of people months before the riders arrive,” added Gary Verity, chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire.

They are now searching for a festival director to run the 100 day long festival.

The featured image is Cycle Song, an award-winning cycling story set in Yorkshire, which may be part of the event.