The BBC is to spearhead a significant arts and music initiative that will include forging web partnerships with the British Museum, the Arts Council and the Public Catalogue Foundation.

The strategy will also see a new Arts Editor role for BBC News, to cover arts events and stories on a day-to-day business, and the creation of a BBC arts board to develop further ideas and partnerships.

As part of this commitment, BBC director general Mark Thompson announced the launch of a major poetry season in collaboration with partners such as the Poetry Society.

The season will span BBC2, BBC4 and CBeebies, as well as Radio 4 and online. It will include programmes fronted by Simon Schama, Armando Iannucci and Ian Hislop.

Thompson said the board, sponsored by director of BBC Vision Jana Bennett and director of audio and music Tim Davie, would consist of senior arts and creative leaders across the BBC and will be managed by a new arts coordinator.

Its aim will be to co-ordinate BBC arts and music programming through better planning, creativity and collaboration across the whole of the corporation, with regular input from external experts and stakeholders.

The tie-up with the Public Catalogue foundation is set to lead to a website on bbc.co.uk called Your Paintings, where the public can view and find information for every one of the 200,000 publicly-owned oil paintings in the UK by 2012.

Radio 4 is already working with the British Museum on the show A History of the World in 100 Objects, which is due to air next year and is now looking at ways of extending this online. The web venture could connect other museums with the BBC across the UK nations and regions.

Meanwhile, the BBC is talking to the Arts Council about offering archive arts council content online, such as the organisation's vast film collection dating back to the 1950s. The parties are also considering aggregating the Council's catalogue with BBC arts content and material from third parties.

"The BBC has a special responsibility to support and enable the cultural life of Britain, particularly though our investment in arts and music programming,” Thompson said.

“Today we are not only reaffirming our commitment to arts, but we're announcing a series of measures that will put this relationship on an even stronger footing. Through innovative new partnerships, I believe the BBC can deliver big, bold arts programming that is accessible, distinctive and enjoyable."