Posts Tagged ‘artists’

24 Jul
2017

PRINTMAKING – saturday workshop

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Printmaking with Hannah Firmin

In this Saturday workshop printmaker Hannah Firmin will guide you through the importance of drawing to develop a print design.

You’ll create a relief print from drawings made in the studio from observation or reference images and transform these into a design to produce an original relief print in either Lino, vinyl or wood. You don’t have to have experience of drawing for this workshop, the printmaking process reduces tones and simplifies lines to achieve striking results.

Hannah will show examples of her own work and demonstrate the process from initial ideas and drawings to finished artwork.

The workshop is ideal for complete beginners as well as those with some experience.

 

SATURDAY 18 Nov

10am-3pm £45

 

Scroll down to book ONLINE or t:01873 811579 e:info@artsalivewales.org.uk

Please see our Booking Information page before making a booking.

13 Sep
2017

Air Lab Generator

air lab 2Air Lab Generator

Monday 13th November

10am – 4pm

Arts Alive Wales, Crickhowell, Powys, NP8 1DG. 

 

A one-day training event in which artists, technologists and environmental partners come together to develop project ideas and create a shared vision, using drones to explore the Black Mountains terrain.

We are delighted to welcome the following guest presenters:

Artist and technologist Charles Gershom

Aerial surveillance and filming experts Mighty Sky 

Royal West of England Academy (RWA) curator of Air: Visualising the Invisible in British Art 1768-2017

 

For more information or to register for a please contact Rebecca Spooner, Creative Director

rebecca@artsalivewales.org.uk   / 01873 811579

 

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Artist Bursary Opportunity

Bursaries of £130 each are available for up to 8 x Wales based artists to attend.

The Artist Bursary aims to enable artists to work collaboratively to realise the potential of digital technology as part of their contemporary practice, while expanding their skills, knowledge and confidence in the practical use of UAVs.

Artists will have the opportunity to work alongside Emma Posey, Air Lab Associate Producer, and members of the Arts Alive Wales staff team.

Bursaries of £130 each are available for up to 8 x professional Wales based artists, at any stage of their career to attend Air Lab Generator. We are not seeking ‘digital artists’ per se but are also interested in those artists who are keen to explore the potential of digital and drones within their practice.

Deadline for applications: 5pm Monday 9th October.

For full details and application information: Air Lab Generator bursary application

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Air Lab – creating new perspectives

Air Lab is a new digital project focused on the potential of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), exploring the terrain of the Black Mountains from the sky, through a programme of training events and workshops. Artists, creative technologists and environmental organisations will work together to increase skills and knowledge, experiment and network in a spirit of peer-to-peer learning and collaboration.

Click here for the full programme

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24 Jul
2017

DRAWING & PAINTING – autumn term

classes 2 Join artist Susan Milne for our Wednesday morning art classes. You’ll be introduced to a variety of art materials, practical techniques and processes alongside relevant art history examples. The course will introduce the fundamentals of drawing as a discipline that underpins painting, design, printmaking and other creative work, and will also explore the extent of drawing as an end in itself. There will be objective drawing from still life, including perspective, tone and form and a session of drawing in the landscape. Different drawing methods and materials will be encouraged and individual attention given during the sessions.  The focus of the first four sessions will be based on Drawing. After the break and four sessions drawing, the course will introduce painting with a variety of pastels and mixed media to explore gesture and form. The course is suitable for beginners and the more experienced. Please bring a sketchbook with you.

WEDNESDAY, 10am-1pm

4-25 Oct & 8-29 Nov

£70 for 4 weeks/ £130 for 8 weeks

Scroll down to book ONLINE or t: 01873 811579 e: info@artsalivewales.org.uk

Please see Booking Information before making a booking.

24 Jul
2017

BASKET MAKING – autumn term

Basket Making

Artisan Basket Maker and Willow Craftswoman, Mary Zammit, will introduce you to the skills and techniques of this ancient craft. Using locally grown willow you’ll learn how to design and construct your own basket from scratch. The classes allow opportunity to work on your own personal project under the expert guidance of Mary. You’ll need a sharp pocket knife, secateurs and a medium flat-headed screw driver. Suitable for beginners as well as those with some experience.

 

MONDAY, 10am-2:30pm

2-23 Oct

£120 for 4 weeks

 

Scroll down to book ONLINE or t: 01873 811579 e:info@artsalivewales.org.uk

Please see our Booking Information page before making a booking

24 Jul
2017

POTTERY – autumn term

pottery

Concentrating on the making process this practical course introduces the fundamental techniques used in hand-built ceramics. Martin Craddock, our trained potter and tutor will guide you through coiling, slabbing and press-moulded dish making. There will also be plenty of opportunities to throw on the wheel. Participants will be able to work on their own personal projects under the guidance of Martin making items for your home, garden etc.

Suitable for beginners as well as those with some experience.

Includes firing and access to specialist equipment.

 

FRIDAY, 2-5PM

22 Sept-27 Oct & 10 Nov – 15 Dec

£170 x 6 weeks/ £305 x 12 weeks.

Our Pottery Autumn Term Course is now Sold Out. Sorry for any inconvenience caused.

 

Scroll down to book ONLINE or t:01873 811579 e:info@artsalivewales.org.uk

Please see ‘Booking Information’ before making a booking.

 

31 Mar
2017

LIFE DRAWING – summer school

life drawingOur popular five-day summer schools enable students to develop their own projects and interests, with the support of a professional tutor in the Arts Alive Wales studio.

 

 

A summer school concerned with the importance of observation of the human figure. You’ll work directly from the life model with artist and tutor Tony Tribe, providing individual guidance. The course will equip you with the technical and perceptual skills to competently render the human figure. Each session will feature a long pose of two or three hours’ length, although shorter poses are always incorporated into the day. Students will be introduced to key areas of life drawing – measuring, proportion, anatomy, line, tone and mass.

Suitable for all abilities, please bring a board and materials.
Please bring a packed lunch.
Sat 15th – Weds 19th July, 10am-3pm
£25 per day / £100 for 5 days

This course is now fully booked. Apologies for any inconvenience caused.

 

 

5 Apr
2017

Y Gors Ddu / The Black Bog

Allen Fisher


Allen Fisher has created a new collection of paintings on y Waen Ddu, the Black Bog – a rare raised peat bog situated on the Craig Y Cilau nature reserve in the Brecon Beacons National Park. The artist is drawn to the cultural associations of peat bogs as sites of Iron Age sacrifice, preservation and divination as well as their ecological importance as rich environments of biodiversity and carbon capture. Peak/Copa, in collaboration with BBC Cymru R&D has produced 360 degree film footage and binaural sound recordings of Allen creating new work on site.

Join us for an informal event at the Arts Alive Wales studio to view Allen’s work in progress and to discover more about the Black Bog.

SATURDAY 10TH JUNE, 10am-1pm
(panel discussion will start promptly at 11am) 

Arts Alive Wales
The Old School, Brecon Road, Crickhowell, NP8 1DG

FREE. To book a place contact: info@artsalivewales.org.uk

 

Rebecca Spooner, Creative Director, will host a panel discussion with Allen and two guest speakers:

  • Allen Fisher is based in Hereford and is a poet, painter and tutor associated with the British Poetry Revival and the Fluxus movement. His work is represented by Tate gallery. Allen will talk about his attraction to working on site with the ponds of y Waen Ddu and his working process. He will also discuss the enduring need amongst artists to work directly in the landscape, particularly referencing the land art movement of the twentieth century.
  • We are pleased to be joined by archaeologist and author, Professor Miranda Aldhouse-Green, who will discuss the historical and cultural context of peat bogs. Referring to her critically acclaimed book Bog Bodies Uncovered (Thames & Hudson. 2015) Miranda will tell us more about the remains of prehistoric people who have been revealed in the bogs of northern Europe. In many cases their skin, hair, nails, and marks of injury survive, betraying the violence and ritual that surrounded their deaths. Who were these unfortunate people, and why were they killed?

  • We are also delighted to welcome geologist Alan Bowring, Fforest Fawr Geopark Development Officer for the Brecon Beacons National Park Authrority. Alan will talk about the ecological and geological significance of the Criag Y Cilau site and its importance within the National Park.  In 2013 Alan discovered a rare example of Bronze Age rock art, more than 4,000 years old  in the Brecon Beacons.

Our Digital Manager, Gavin Johnson will discuss the documentation of Allen Fisher’s project in partnerhsip with BBC Cymru and the potential for digital technology in artist projects.

Directions and parking information can be found on our Visit Us page.

Peak/Copa creates opportunties for contemporary art in the Black Mountains
peakart.org.uk

Photo credit: Toril Brancher

Arts Council of Wales

PEAK

 

 

14 Apr
2017

SUMMER / HAF 2017

You can now download our bilingual Summer 2017 programme, with details of all our projects, classes and events….

 

AAW Summer Programme 2017 (click to download)

 

 

SUMMER / HAF

 

14 Mar
2017

GARTH Mural Artist Commission – Deadline extended until 24th March

Screen Shot 2017-03-14 at 23.19.14Gwent Arts in Health (Garth) are seeking an experienced mural artist to design and make directly applied artwork to enhance the relatives waiting areas in the Critical Care  Unit of the Royal Gwent Hospital, Newport, South Wales.

 

The deadline is now March 24th

 

If you are interested in applying, you can see further details in the brief included below:

20170309_RGH_ICU_Brief

 

Please contact Sarah Goodey directly if you have further questions about this application.

 

Sarah Goodey – Arts Development Manager

GARTH – Gwent Arts in Health
Block 10, Royal Gwent Hospital, Cardiff Road, Newport NP20 2UB
sarah.goodey@wales.nhs.uk int. 44517 / ext. 01633 23 4517 /  07976 375781
www.garth.org.uk

 

3 Jan
2017

CREATIVE NETWORK – Review

A day of focused, one-to-one professional review sessions with Arts Alive’s Creative Director, Rebecca Spooner to provide constructive feedback and support practitioners of all disciplines with arts funding, project development, promotion and event organising.

Tuesday 28th February
Arts Alive Wales studio, Crickhowell 

Only 6 places are available. 45 minute time slots.

10:00 – 10:45am
11:00 – 11:45am
12:00- 12:45pm
02:00 – 2:45pm
03:00 – 3:45pm
04:00 – 4:45pm

£15 / £10 for Creative Network members and students

Scroll down to book a place or tel: 01873 811579 / email: info@artsalivewales.org.uk

 

Rebecca Spooner Rebecca Spooner has worked in the arts in Wales for over fifteen years and is experienced in arts fundraising, organising and promoting exhbitions, residencies, public talks and workshops, mentoring, arts participation and project management. Rebecca was an exhibiting artist for ten years, specialising in film and photography installation. 

 

 

12 Oct
2016

TALK – KEITH BAYLISS, ARTIST: The Enclosed Garden

tissue-sculpture-by-keith-baylissSwansea artist Keith Bayliss is giving a talk in Brecon to the Friends of Brecon and District Mind on Wednesday 19th October at the Castle Hotel. He will discuss his distinctive artwork which explores and expresses feelings such as love, loss and need.

Born in 1954, he has worked as a freelance figurative artist and artist in education. He has also worked in a psychiatric hospital and as a community arts officer for Swansea.

I work in a variety of media – pencil and ink on paper, oil on canvas, relief printing and, in the last few years, small mixed-media constructions,’ he explains. ‘In my painting I work on a large scale, with figures almost life size. They inhabit a simple setting, the curve of a hill, a moon. They are single or in pairs, sometimes interacting, sometimes moving in opposite directions. My most recent work consists of half life-size figurative constructions in tissue.’

Keith has exhibited widely in Wales as well as in the Czech Republic, Belgium, Germany and Serbia. He often collaborates or responds to the work of poets including David Greenslade, David Thomas and Dylan Thomas. He held a one-man show at Swansea’s Glynn Vivian Art Gallery. Recent exhibitions include Hortus Conclusus / The Enclosed Garden, at Swansea’s Mission Gallery in 2012, and an installation, Swsana and the Elders at Oriel Q, Narberth, in 2016.

In 2013 Keith held a residency at the National Waterfront Museum, a project called The Journey, which involved setting up a studio alongside its Stanhope letter press. ‘I rarely make one-off prints, they seem always to develop into a series and a narrative begins. The story in this case was not a new one for me – an individual moving through life, facing adversity, dreaming, hoping and, finally, finding solace.’

The Friends support the work of Brecon and District Mind and raise awareness of mental health issues in and around Brecon, Crickhowell, Talgarth and Hay-on-Wye. It is open to all and holds talks, activities and fund-raising events.

 

Wednesday 19th October 2016, The Castle of Brecon Hotel, Castle Square, Brecon, 7pm, £5 (Friends £2).

6 Sep
2016

CREATIVE NETWORK mini fund

 

Members of the Creative Network are invited to apply for a £300 ‘mini-fund’ to produce new work. We want to hear about your idea for a new project, publication, performance, collaboration, exhibition or body of work. There are no creative limitations.

Deadlines for applications are in March and September each year.

The next deadline for applications is 5pm, FRIDAY 31st MARCH 2017.

Download the application form and guidelines:creative-network-mini-fund-march-2017

March 2016’s mini fund was awarded to a collaborative group of three Creative Network members; Susan Milne, Katherine Sheers and Helen Watkins, to produce a new exhibition. You can read Susan’s overview of the project below…

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TRACES EXHIBITION

THE TABERNACLE,  TALGARTH

27 May  -5 June 2016

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The Tabernacle in Talgarth, a successful local music venue, was transformed into a gallery space for the duration of the Hay Festival. Artists Susan Milne, Katherine Sheers and Helen Watkins presented an exhibition that covered a range of ideas, techniques and mediums celebrating textiles and garments.

With the Tabernacle’s natural light enhanced by subtle pinpoint and track lights, the old chapel  became a quiet and meditative space in which to enjoy the work.

Helen’s beautiful linen hangings were coloured using a palette of plant dyes harvested from the surrounding landscape. The four suspended  pieces aimed to create a gentle space for quiet contemplation.

Katherine displayed individually dyed specimens of concealment, pinned as entomology samples and figurative works of finely stitched silk and cotton. Susan’s paper and fibre constructions, deriving from her drawings of garment fragments in museums, and ancient textile fragments from archaeological collections, were presented, museum style on  display tables with  lights for the individual pieces of work.

Approximately 500 people attended the exhibition, including visitors to the area,  local people and  visitors to the Hay Festival from the UK and abroad. The artists sold at least 25% of their work and there were expressions of interest for further exhibitions, sales and promotion.

The artists are grateful for the support from the Creative Network mini fund, the Tabernacle and the Hay Festival and also many local helpers.

Susan Milne, artist
Summer 2016

Photo credit: ‘Ann Dierikx Photography’

 

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Click here for more information about the Creative Network

30 Jun
2016

Site Visit to Llwyn Celyn

SITE VISIT TO LLWYN CELYN, LLANTHONY VALLEY

Thursday 14th July, 10am-2pm

FREE for Creative Network members and students

Peak is working in partnership with The Landmark Trust to develop artist residencies in response to the renovation of Llwyn Celyn, a medieval manor farm in the Llanthony Valley. This half day visit will enable members to meet with the artists (who are all Creative Network members), see work in progress, discuss the challenges and opportunities of working in heritage settings and to access this unique site for sketching/photography/writing.

PLACES ARE LIMITED! To book a place contact Rebecca Spooner:
rebecca@artsalivewales.org.uk / 01873 811579

Draft schedule:

10am
Parking at the Queen’s Head, Cymyoy (£1 may be needed for parking). Short walk up a private track to the Llwyn Celyn site. Arrival and refreshments.

10:20am
Resident artist presentations and Q&A with Toril Brancher, Jamie Lake, Catherine Baker and Stefhan Caddick.

12:20pm
Community Project Manager and artist Morag Colquhoun will talk about the creative participation that has taken place at Llwyn Celyn with young people.

12:40pm
Kasia Howard, Education Officer Landmark Trust and Rebecca Spooner, Creative Director Arts Alive will facilitate a group discussion about artist residencies and practice in heritage and environmental settings.

1:00pm – 2:00pm
Creative Network members have their own time for sketching, photography, writing, etc on site.

Notes:

Please wear suitable warm and waterproof clothing as necessary and sturdy outdoor shoes.

Refreshments will be provided but you’re welcome to bring extra food/drink if staying until 2pm. All litter to be taken home.

To discuss any mobility and access issues please contact Rebecca Spooner:
01873 811579 / rebecca@artsalivewales.org.uk

 

Supported by the Heritage Lottery

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12 Aug
2015

Creative Network: MINI FUND

The Creative Network supports arts practitioners through opportunities for collaboration, discussion, promotion and training. The Creative Network is focused (although not exclusively) on the Black Mountains and surrounding areas and currently has 90 members including artists, makers, writers, theatre practitioners, producers, illustrators and photographers.

Members of the Creative Network are invited to apply for a £300 ‘mini-fund’ to produce new work. We want to hear about your idea for a new project, publication, performance, collaboration, exhibition or body of work. There are no creative limitations…

The next deadline for applications is Friday 25th September, 5pm.

Download a simple application form:

Word document: CREATIVE NETWORK MINI FUND sept 2015

PDF document: CREATIVE NETWORK MINI FUND sept 2015

Previous winners of the mini-fund have included Antonia Spowers, to produce a new sculpture for exhibition at the National Botanic Gardens of Wales and Penny Hallas, to purchase new digital equipment in order to experiment with site-specific projections.

 

creative_network_logo-smThe Creative Network costs £18 a year and offers a range of benefits. If you are not currently a member please visit the web page where you can complete an online registration form: www.artsalivewales.org.uk

 

For more information contact Rebecca Spooner, Arts Development Manager:

info@artsalivewales.org.uk / 01873 811579

21 Jul
2014

A Visit To The Lowlands

As part of our ongoing PEAK project, Rebecca Spooner, Arts Development Manager, reports on a visit to Fermynwoods Contemporary Art in Northamptonshire and Wysing Arts Centre in Cambridgeshire.

 

8-10th July 2014

Artist Morag Colquhoun, was at the wheel as we made a four-hour trip east, to the flat fields of Bedfordshire. Our mutual friend and artist, Jackie Chettur, kindly put us up for two nights in her beautiful home, Gardener’s Cottage, on the Woodbury Hall estate, near Sandy.

Jackie and I met on our Fine Art MA in Cardiff in 2003 and she now has a studio at Wysing Arts Centre. Jackie had done a great job lining up introductions for us over the next two days.

Painting by Jackie Chettur at Gardener's Cottage
Jackie, Morag and Yasmin at FCA
Spotting butterfly spotters
Sudborough Green Lodge. FCA's artist residency space
Morag relaxing with a glass of something after a hard day talking art
Meeting studio artists in the 'window room' at Wysing
Artist Lisa Wilkens in her studio
studio of Erica Bohr
Erica Bohr shows us her i-pad drawings
meeting artist Caroline Wright in her studio
Morag with artist Soheila Sokhanvari
colour pigments in Soheila's studio
the unofficial Wysing cat
view of Wysing studios and reception
View of Wysing studios and farmhouse residence spaec
wax flowers made by Jackie in her studio
paper flowers made by Jackie in her studio
Homeward - view of the Sugar Loaf

 

9th July

We met Yasmin Calvin, Director, Fermynwoods Contemporary Art (FCA), at their shop front office in the small town of Thrapston in Northamptonshire.

We chatted over a cuppa, sat round a large table in their resource space, which is available for artists to meet, read, talk and present. The space had an array of journals and catalogues to pore over. FCA’s promotional print was more than a well-designed booklet, it was a hand held platform for presenting their artists and projects; a mini exhibition space and archive.

This small organisation developed from ecologically concerned beginnings, encouraging artists to directly respond to the rural environment. As well as an ongoing programme of projects, FCA manages Sudborough Green Lodge, a site with two cottages, owned by the Forestry Commission, one of which is used for artist residencies. Since Yasmin’s appointment as Director in 2009, FCA has shifted its focus from responding directly to the rural situation, to one which supports artistic practice through opportunities for reflection, research and play. This fluidity of ideas and creativity was to run throughout the next two days.

Artists work with the organisation to develop local audiences for projects and events. Many of the artists that work with FCA have a socially engaged practice but this isn’t an explicit requirement. Projects are always driven by the artist’s practice, and a huge amount of trust is, quite rightly, bestowed up on the artist. Yasmin is interested in people and responding to the social environment is as relevant (if not more so) as a rural/urban environment.

Morag spoke about her experience with an artists’ residency project in the Elan Valley, instigated by a partnership between the Arts Council of Wales and Dwr Cymru Welsh Water. Morag has been encouraged by the approach that ACW has taken, offering artists a reflective period of working on site, in exchange for their feedback to develop the future residency programme. This demonstrates a confidence in the artists selected and the need to offer artists a sincere experience in order for creative practice to evolve.

FCA is a peripatetic organisation, with a small staff team based in the shop front office, delivering projects in alternative spaces and venues throughout the region. We spoke about the challenges of not having a gallery space. Negotiations to develop art for a partner venue take considerable time, effort and energy as well as a skillful balancing of competing priorities.

Working off-site, you may not only have to impress an indifferent audience but indifferent partners and their associated staff and volunteers. Jackie shared an unfortunate exhibition experience with a national institution (that shall remain nameless) in which much of an exhibition by contemporary artists was dismantled in favour of more lucrative craft fairs and a dinning club, much of the work wasn’t reinstalled and some of it broken.

Yasmin reiterated, the most important resource is time – time to develop relationships, to communicate and to invest in the artistic process. Articulating our opinions and feelings, and having our preconceptions challenged, are all part of the messy subject of contemporary art.

Yasmin whisked us away to the Lodge, FCA’s artist residency facility, set two miles down a track through Fermyn Woods.

[A surreal aside – Fermyn Woods is one of the few places in Britain where rare Purple Emperor butterflies grace us with their presence for a week every July. The ‘most attractive of nature’s children’ had chosen this as their week. We sat in the car for fifteen minutes patiently waiting for an eager crowd of spotters to snap their photos of a specimen sunning itself on the track ahead. These out of the ordinary encounters are one of the joys of working in the countryside.]

The lodge is comprised of two cottages, one leased to a family (which contributes to the Forestry Commission rent on the Lodge) and the other is used as a work space and accommodation for residency artists. As the forest opened up and we passed though a wild flower meadow we become aware of how remote the Lodge feels. There’s solitude and then there’s isolation – it doesn’t suit every artist. FCA are careful how they describe the Lodge and its situation before an artist arrives for a stint in the sticks.

It’s important to FCA to maintain a balance between local/regional artists and international artists. It is the local artists that have a strong understanding of the context the organisation is working in but diversity is hugely valuable – and this includes artistic diversity. The ideal of ‘artistic diversity’ was one of the essentials I gained from our visit to FCA and feel it’s important to encourage this in the Black Mountains.

 

10th July

Wysing Arts Centre is situated nine miles south of Cambridge and comprises of ‘ten buildings including studios, live-work space, specialist new media facilities, a large gallery, education facilities and a 17th century farmhouse used as accommodation for residencies and retreats.’

We spent the day meeting staff members, Louise Thirlwall, Operations Director, Gareth Bell-Jones, Artists and Programmes Curator, and studio artists Erica Böhr, Soheila Sokhanvari, Caroline Wright and Lisa Wilkens.

Wysing delivers a contemporary programme neutral to its rural situation. As exhibition audiences are slim in this neck of the woods, the large gallery space focuses primarily on research and experimentation. Large-scale events such as this year’s music festival, Space-Time: The Future, are promoted heavily via social media, e-bulletins and online networks, attracting a large London audience. In addition to visitors from the capital, Wysing broadens its reach with local audiences through a broad programme of public talks, embracing history, politics, science and ecology, as well as accessible family workshops, youth projects and creative apprenticeships.

Wysing’s website gave me the impression of an organisation that was rather cool and austere. However, meeting the studio artists in the informal ‘window room’ at Wysing with coffee and conversation flowing, the artists were welcoming, open and articulate about their work.

Jackie told us she appreciates the commeraderie, peer support, the level of ambition amongst the artists and the intellectual/artistic stimulus of the Wysing experience. Discussing the fraught business of art is also important – the financial and professional practicalities, mistakes and challenges.

The opportunity of leasing a subsidised studio at Wysing (around £160 a month) warrants a competitive application process and studios are offered on a maximum five-year lease. This time limit ensures that artists remain focused, however, it can be unsettling to know this is a temporary situation and Wysing supports artists to develop opportunities in order to move on when their time is up.

Some of the artists had experienced inactive and apathetic studio groups in the past and a dire lack of studio space in nearby Cambridge, where house prices are high and redundant spaces limited. Artist Caroline Wright, travels over an hour to be in her studio, because there really is nothing like Wysing elsewhere in the region.

We also spoke about the perception of Wysing by regional artists outside the organsiation and there was an acknowledgment that some felt Wysing was a ‘closed shop’. However, I was impressed by how the studio artists proactively worked together to develop exchanges with other artist groups via their Expanded Studios programme, which is due to partner up with Primary studios in Nottingham. Naturally we posed the suggestion of an exchange with artists in the Black Mountains and a meeting of the lowland tribe and the mountain tribe was enthusiastically welcomed. We then spent a wonderful hour trawling round the studios speaking to the artists individually. I only wish we had more time – but I think we can look on this as just the start of further meetings and conversations.

Our afternoon conversation with Gareth Bell-Jones, was hugely informative and motivating. Gareth sharpened our focus and asked the question – who is PEAK for? Who are the artists we are aspire to work with and who are our potential audiences? Gareth encouraged us to explore various models and ways of working by looking at other examples across the UK – from artist studios, to exchanges and residencies.

The most recent artist residency opportunities at Wysing attracted 300 applications for 4 places. Gareth feels that artists are increasingly attracted to residencies in order to have complete freedom to do what they want – it’s something they can’t get elsewhere. A residency with undefined outcomes offers the opportunity to break out of the pressure that an artist can feel to constantly deliver, to exhibit, to sell. It’s a limited period to make mistakes and fail if necessary. Wysing spends time with an artist to prepare a residency before they arrive and develop an ongoing relationship after the event, tracking an artist’s future practice (and audience figures), recognising that a project with Wysing can lead to many other opportunities.

We bought it back to PEAK and considered the existing resources available to us in the Black Mountains: a diversity of active and interesting artists, the unique landscape, accessible location (roughly within an hour of Cardiff and Bristol), large festival audiences, Hereford College of Arts on the doorstep – I could go on.

How can PEAK make the most of those resources and contribute something vital and relevant to the mix?

We also talked about piloting new projects in a reflective and sensitive way to gain valuable feedback from artists to shape the future of PEAK.

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The two days were inspiring and invigorating. I felt we’d learned a lot from conversations with artists and curators – about new approaches to how we work with artists, how we respond to the particular environment of the Black Mountains (social/environmental/cultural) and how we could develop PEAK with consideration and confidence. Taking the time to visit established organisations across the UK has given me a certain self-assuredness that we can learn from other people’s successes and challenges when developing our own projects. Putting in the time and effort to get it right is worth it.

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 – Rebecca Spooner

With thanks to:

Yasmin Calvin

Gareth Bell Jones

Louise Thirlwall

The Wysing studio artists

Jackie and Ben

 

PEAK is an initiative devised and delivered by Arts Alive Wales, seeking to research and develop platforms for the creation and presentation of contemporary art in the Black Mountains.

During summer 2014, PEAK will visit rurally based arts organisations across the UK to establish partnerships and opportunities for artists and audiences.

PEAKArts Council of Wales

 

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Fri 29

POTTERY – autumn term

September 29 @ 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Sat 30

LIFE DRAWING – autumn term

September 30 @ 10:00 am - 3:00 pm