Dismantling an arts organisation

For the last couple of months, I have been busy packing things away…

passing on resources, objects and bits of knowledge.

Plenty of tea and coffee has been consumed coupled with various chats and exchanges about past and future plans for us all.

Its been a strange time for me but one I have sought out in the pursuit for change.

I have been managing and directing an arts organisation in Wiltshire since roughly 2009 but yesterday was my last day as we are now closing our doors after 17 years.

So, as the artistic lead I got to close the door, pull the blinds down, delete some files, dispose of our goods, sweep up and turn the lights out.

A strange feeling to say the least.

Long before I took over the reigns, the company was the formed by a group of like-minded people with the ideas and enthusiasm to make a realization come to life. Supported by the Arts Council, Arts service, various enterprising artists and facilitators and the Youth service a new service evolved.

Its focus was to bring socially engaged arts practice to young people, working with and for its community.

In its time, it has seen some amazingly fun and quirky projects, shaped and supported some amazing artists and young people. It has created some diverse and exciting projects. For that I am incredibly proud.

We all are.

Forging partnerships and work in unlikely places has always been my passion. To include everyone. EVERYONE.

To amplify the voices of the least heard has been my motivator.

It should be simple really. Accessible places and spaces, projects, programmes and debates. Enrich and share and show and ensure that you are honest in your weak points and find a way to include everyone.

Do it.

The cultural sector is richer for it.

We need to engage and excite children and young people who wouldn’t dream of being involved with us as artists.

And we did just that, over and over. It was exhausting, tiring and at times I did wonder what on earth we were doing. But we did and it was very good.

It is bittersweet but like any relationship things change. We are in a different time as many of my friends and colleagues shared with me over endless tea and coffee and cake. That is true.

So, here I am braving a new world with exciting plans and exciting ideas and an exciting future.

We did good, we created amazing things and we DID have fun.