Saying that, today's announcement from Arts Council England regarding funding for arts organisations in 2015-18 stated they were shifting the balance of funding ever so slightly to outside London. Their interactive map is interesting, zoom in on 'the grey zone' (Berkshire) and filter it on Visual Arts only and it's dire. If you include Combined Arts in the search The Corn Exchange in Newbury appears, but theatre and music are a far greater emphasis for them then the visual arts. This map only refers to the regular funding of their 'portfolio' organisations and is not a true picture of the regional arts scene. In the symposium it was stated that artists outside London were more likely to be successful in Grants for the Arts than London based ones, and this funding pot is increasing next year. So perhaps there may be more projects in the region like the two I mentioned in a previous post, it just means a lot of form filling.
We are also in full swing for 'Open Studios' and 'Art Trails' across the region, they do seem to be multiplying or growing. The first Reading town centre Open for Art trail celebrating Reading's arts, culture and heritage runs this weekend. Some of the 'empty shop' window installations sound interesting, I wish them success and hope they can build on this in years to come.
I, like many artists in the region and beyond, just keep plugging away at our chosen art form despite the various challenges, as that's what we must do, as been said it's like breathing. In the meantime you seek out whatever opportunities you can, support yourself through other means where possible, and build a network across various outlets.
This will be my last post on 'Art in the Grey Zone', with the end of ReOrsa and Gallery@49 last year the non-commercial contemporary art scene on my doorstep stopped. Its been interesting going around the region and seeing what else is happening but now I'm ready to spend time in my new home studio. I'm eager to play with 'messy' materials and get back into 3D forms again. I'll face the challenge of finding opportunities to show in the region later on, meanwhile the work goes on.
|Observations on a Town by Janet Curley Cannon|
art from the heart of the grey zone
I've taken to Twitter for my musings, observations, and wider art interests, you can follow me @JCurleyCannon or keep up to date with other news on my web site. This blog archive will be available for awhile so make sure and follow the links to the artists and arts organisations from across the region!