Tuesday, September 26, 2006

2012 is only Six Years Away

I went to a really interesting presentation at the National Sailing Academy in Portland today. It was about the 2012 Cultural Olympiad. That’s right CULTURE (the stuff that Purbeck District Council seems to think doesn’t exist). There was a whole chunk of the Olympic bid that was about cultural spin offs and as we have the only complete games venue and programme outside of the M25 it means that a large part of the Cultural Olympiad will be happening in Dorset. The Arts Council of England have produced a strategy and the Jurassic Coast Arts Strategy (remember that?) will be at its heart. Funds will begin to be allocated from next year. Interstingly enough, there will be special attention to international cultural exchanges and, for no apparent reason, the two selected countries will be Brazil and India. I think we’re already on to that, aren’t we?
Projects will be considered in categories according to whether they use existing resources, or new resources or exciting possibilities. At the moment everything is up for grabs and the County Arts Development Supremo Mike Hoskin is gathering suggestions. Nothing is ruled in and nothing is ruled out. So have a punt at some creative thinking.
Will it effect us in Purbeck and by how much? Well, to start with, the Olympic organising committee has to deliver 3 or 400 4star bedspaces. Currently there are about 70 in the area. The answer is that they will be providing a luxury cruise liner anchored in Portland Harbour as the competitor’s village but it also means that virtually every bed in Dorset will be required for spectators and hangers on. Dorset is going to be awash with visitors and we have to look at the cultural events that will keep them here. We don’t have the cathedrals and galleries that other venues have had. What are they going to do?
Isn’t it just a fortnight in 2012? In order to win its Olympic status the sailing academy has to run full scale test events in the years running up to 2012 and starting next year there will be a major international event every September. In addition the National sailing Academy is seen as the premier International training venue and there will be a year round influx of teams and spectators. And that will continue long after 2012.
Cynical? Why not? On the other hand the Olympics and the Cultural Olympiad will happen. It will happen in Dorset. There are some interesting websites showing how other communities have benefited (forget the stuff about Olympic venues standing empty and being a burden on the taxpayer - The National Sailing Academy is already built, paid for and functioning. And it’s a rather nice building). Perhaps we could put aside our natural cynicism until 2013 and have a bit of what’s going on.
I hope to have a fuller report of the meeting availabler later.

http://www.london2012.org/en/ (look for “our vision”)

Art at Durlston

Ali at the country park has asked me to ask you all to put your thinking caps on and come up with some ideas for next year. They have funding for a schools week and want art events. Strata's efforts last year were a great success and had 3000 visitors . Can this be bettered?

Monday, September 25, 2006

I Know You're Out There

Since putting a counter on the site I know that people are clicking on. If you have any arts event you want to publish in Swanage or Purbeck, please put it here. Similarly if you want to be on our circulation list leave your contact details. I don't include anyone who doesn't ask.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

The Incomer and The Land

Music Theatre Workshop Series -Peta Lily and Andrew Dickson
"Noises and Bodies"
Bridport Arts Centre
Sunday October 15th 2006 11.00 - 4.00 £5 including refreshments
Noises and Bodies brings together composer and musician Andrew Dickson with writer/director/performer Peta Lily to work with the group to discover what we can create with movement and voice combined in different ways.We will take as our inspiration people’s thoughts, feelings and stories about the land and the community. And discover how we might express some of the atmospheres and emotions involved in our relationship with each other and the land. We will be drawing on the wonderfully rich and varied material which has been collected so far through the ongoing interview process, which is one of the first steps of the Incomer and the Land Project. A lot of the stories already gathered speak of thedeep emotional connection between human beings and the land. You will be invited to contribute your stories to the body of research material in advance of the workshop day. This workshop is open to everyone –if it’s a success, there is a possibility of exploring the work further at a full weekend workshop in the spring. The workshop led by Peta will be physically undemanding and gentle in its explorations with Andrew encouraging singing that anyone can manage.
To book please contact Nichola Motley on email
or call 01308 422 305

Moonlight and Music

This is an unashamed self-plug for one of my rare performances nowadays - at the Moonlight Bistro on the evening of Friday October 13th. They have a varied menu that's really not expensive and you can book a table on 01929 475615. Why not get together with a few other members of Strata and give it a go?
Best Wishes to You All,
Steve Darrington
www.stevedarrington.com and click on 'Music' for my musical background

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Artists in and around Swanage

Here is the current list of contacts. Please contact me via e.mail or via this site for updates and additions. If you’re not in the network how will you know what’s going on?

Paul Angel
Digital Photography
01202 421080

Carlotta Barrow
Stone Carving, Painting
Waterside Studio,
Peveril Point,
Dorset, BH19 2AY.
Telephone: 01929 425967
Email: zooks@peveriledge.com

Freya Boyesen
Visual Artist

Chris Burke

Gillian Bathe
Art /design teacher not resident but paints here.
Exhibition ' The Sea forChristmas' at Salisbury Library in December (all Purbeck Coastal subjects)

Carol Childs
Contemporary Artist
07709 492255

Steve Darrington.
Musician and Swanage Blues Festival supremo
http://www.stevedarrington.com/ and
01929 422338

Karen Delahay
studio/rehearsal/meetings space
artists friendly accommodation available.

Fire, Light and Music Experience
smailto:Simon@flamefireshows.com -
07863 168447 (For bookings and questions)

Richard Jeffery
photographer and 3D artist, webdesign
http://www.creativecrows.co.uk/ is work from some of the groups I have worked with -mailto:-richard.jeffery@theeleventhhour.co.uk

Tony Kerins
84 Kings Road,
Dorset BH19 1HR,
01929 425131

Denis Lowson
12c Institute Road,
Dorset BH19 1BX

Ian Lowson
12a Institute Road
Dorset BH19 1BX

Sinead O'Neill
01929 426042

Jeremy Paul
01929 426688

Purbeck String Festival
Susan Stanford - Artistic Director
Tel: 01929 426931

Quarr Gallery
Keith and Jane
17 High Street,
Dorset BH19 2LP
01929 423450
email quarr@operamail.com

Tara Randall
The Artist's Way Creative Cluster

The Ranger School of Dance
Dance and performance arts
01929 423436 / 01929 421510

Shannon Ribbons
Off On One designs and produces websites, creates animations and makes pictures
e-mail: mailto:info@offonone.com
phone: (01929) 424026
mobile: 07733361908


Ray Sargent
Actor, Musician
One Man Shows
01202 604598

Spyway Projects
Peter Cooper, Annette Sumption
38 Princess Road
Dorset BH19 1JQ
01929 424428

Tidal Studios
Kate Cross
Design, print, promotion
01929 421535

Tony Viney
leaves no stone unturned at
http://www.tonyviney.co.uk/ and at
www.boilerhousegallery.co.uk also at

Wendy Wharam
Artist, Writer, Story Teller
01929 426423

Samantha Woodford
01929 421658

Sarah Wootton
Textile Artist
Toms Field Campsite.
Toms Field Road .
Langton Matravers.
Swanage. Dorset.
Tel 01929 427110

Contacts for Artists

After last week’s Strata meeting I thought it might be a good idea to circulate contacts for everybody. Why don’t you send me your website and contact details and I’ll e.mail them round. I will also start a list on my this site until we get the Strata website up and running. For obvious reasons, I won’t include anyone who doesn’t actually contact me to OK it. I am on several arts groups and mailing lists and I do hear about interesting opportunities so if you to hear about them as well then contact me.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Other Organisations are seeking us out

It's good to see that other organisations are linking to Strata. Keep your eyes open for opportunities that might be suitable for other group members and pass them on.

Here is one to be going on with:

Arts & Health South West - Artist Commission
Arts & Health South West are looking to commission an artist for a print or series of prints that will be given to our Patron Members (key regional organisations including Arts Organisations, NHS Trusts, Council’s etc.).
What is required:A print or series of prints (max 3), these could be new or existing(edition of 10). The work must however be appropriate for healthcare organisations/settings.
Fee:£1k plus 1 years membership to A&HSW.
Deadline:10th November.Shortlisting:21st November.
Please provide:What form the commission will take (could be photography)
The size(s)
An indication of the theme
Why you think you are relevant for the commission inc cv
Samples of other work preferably Jpeg format
Please send to:Emma Williams,
Co-ordinatorArts & Health South West
12 Sandbed Road
St Werburghs
Bristol BS2 9TX
T: 0117 907 3861 or e: info@ahsw.org.uk

Sunday, September 10, 2006

To Build or Not to Build

Recently we have spent a lot of time worrying about a new Arts centre for Swanage. We desperately need a small performance space where people like me can harangue small captive audiences with our poetry, or where a string quartet could rehearse. We need some decent exhibition space, we need workrooms for electronic and other artists. When it opens, I shall be first in line for the champagne reception. But who builds it, has their name on the front, or where the funding comes from, I don’t care very much. Or even if it doesn’t get built at all, come to that. In fact the likelihood of it not being built is as predictable as winter following autumn. So why worry?

What happened to the original idea of Strata as an arts Centre without a building? The most important function of an organisation like ours is to help artists to produce art. To encourage and develop festivals and events. To help people discover their own creativity. To tap into those funding streams for the arts that the town has been missing out on. Yes, most towns do those things from a building or an institution. But we have no such building based organisation or institution with a brief to develop the arts. Our district and town councils see no value in the arts. And, any way, there are plenty of examples of arts buildings which have cost so much that there is nothing left to fund a programme inside. There are even buildings where the management committees have to put all their efforts into keeping the fabric together leaving no time to put a programme at all. It requires us, the artists of Purbeck and Swanage, to be more imaginative. We have to make use of the churches and halls and pub back rooms that are here. We must be bold and creative. We must develop our bona fides with the funding bodies by producing paintings, music, performances of such quality and innovation that we have the honest citizens town out on the streets with placards demanding that somebody builds a building to put it in.

Until then... let’s just think about what we do best... making art.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Impasto Gusto

I was bowled over by a twin site exhibition at the Quarr Gallery and at the Rectory Classroom in Swanage. The painter was Stephen Bishop and the exhibition was called "Images of a Purbeck Summer". Normally, I think I would have given an event with such a title a bit of a miss; I think I've seen just about all the views of Old Harry and Studland beach that I care to see. But this was something different. These paintings were, indeed, of the iconic views but they were painted with such energy and commitment that you couldn't but be rocked backwards by the effect. The paint was thick and layered from bright greens and blues and purples. The horizons slanted and swayed. It looked as though the artist was attacking the Purbeck landscape. A whole room full of these works and you really got something from the place that is usually missed by the chocolate box painters. You got a sense of the underlying force of nature, the oppressive summer heat of the heath, the cutting wind, the angry waves. The picture for me was of a single heathland tree, angled by the wind standing in a sea of gorse and heather with a brilliant blue streak of hills in the distant background. If anyone wanted an image of Hardy's Egdon Heath. This was it.

Astonishingly, Stephen Bishop is a warm, friendly person; happy to talk about his work. Not precious at all. And, incredibly, the paintings are made en plein air. He sets up his easel and he gets the paint and sand and anything else adjacent onto the canvas until he's finished and then he stops.

Congratulations Stephen Bishop and also Keith and Jane at Quarr gallery for letting us see this fantastic display.