THE directors of a floating arts project have described their vessel finally mooring in York as a huge step forward.

York's Arts Barge 'Selby Tony' is now residing in the city's Foss Basin after having its hull refurbished.

The project to give York a floating arts centre showcasing music, theatre, dance and more was first conceived in 2009.

Last year directors chose not to apply for £75,000 of further funding from City of York Council, but the project has since gained cross-party support.

And now it has a visible presence in York, the team behind it is full of optimism.

>>> FLASHBACK: Read more about the Arts Barge project and its history

Hannah West, one of the Arts Barge directors, said: "It's a huge step forward, it's absolutely huge.

"We've been waiting to get the barge into York for years.

"We first bought it in 2012 with help from other funding and public donations.

"It took a while to refurbish the hull and we had it in and out of a dry dock to get it serviced.

"It's been a long road really. When you are doing anything relying on other people's good will, it's very difficult.

"It's quite momentous for us to have it in York. It makes such a difference.

"It is for people in York and now the people of York are going to be able to see it and see that it's a real thing."

The Arts Barge is now looking for grants and sponsorship to renovate the vessel ready for performances and is soon to launch a crowd funding website.

Asked about when it might open, Ms West said: "It depends on funding. We've got that mooring for 18 months.

"Our best wish is to have it open for summer 2017."

The project has held arts events on land in order to build up its credentials and directors plan to continue with what has worked well when shows get on board.

"We are particularly interested in anything that's collaborative and comes from the community," said Ms West.

"It's about what people are doing and what they want to see.

"It will be quite like an arts centre.

"The project came from not having an arts centre in York because we all remembered the old one from years back."