Submission from Gillian Wing, Strawberry Glass

Why do you think people in the South Holland and Boston areas don’t get more involved in the arts?

I feel we need to be better at making connections.  So for example the link between agriculture and nature and art must be important for this area.  In Boston Borough we already have The Woodlands Organic Farm with its award winning box scheme and an established history of arts residencies and projects spanning poetry, painting,photography and music.  Currently Euan Duff the Photographer.

Let’s learn from what we have as well as bringing in new.

At the Open Space Meeting the RNIB spaces were offered as a ‘place’ for creative things to happen in partnership.  Last summer I took part in a workshop that took inspiration from Andy Goldsworthy’s work and spent time creating ‘art in nature’.  We used what we found, the variety of work was fantastic in just a morning and it was great fun.  I’m sure the RNIB spaces could host something similar as well as more ambitious projects.

Continuing the theme of partnerships etc – I believe that is an important part of how we will achieve sustainability which is a requirement of this project.

I have a long standing involvement in the fields of health and social housing.  So health and arts;  ‘Art on prescription’ is being developed in a number of areas nationally and we have a pilot in Lincolnshire.  They have promised to send me details.  Very near South Holland borders, just in Cambridgeshire, there is a Community Arts Centre called Realitas that is a registered charity and is looking to develop exciting arts projects centered around the needs of people with a range of health conditions.  They are hoping for private sponsership as well as arts grants.  I feel we need to work out how to bring the private sector on board too.  Philanthropy and corporate responsibility are being talked about a lot these days and will help to secure sustainability.

Also the changes to the way that people with a range of health conditions are going to be funded by Social Services give new opportunities for partnership with the arts.

Perhaps we need to make it possible for more artists to become involved in projects like this.  Having come to this world after a career doing other things I am shocked by the way that everybody obviously wants artists to take a leading role in putting together exciting new projects like this one, but what happens is the artists are the only people sitting around the table not being paid for being there.

Artists have a tough time putting together the remunerated work to support their artistic endeavours.  In my experience, and lots of other people I have spoken to, artists have great ideas to offer but not the time for large chunks of unpaid involvement.

This just must have been solved somewhere.  I feel we need to build whatever the solution is into the bid or we wont have the involvement from artists that we need.

The guidance for applicants talks about pop-up and site-specific work, (page 7)

Pop-up is fun and a wonderful way of bringing arts activities to the high street which is where local people frequently go, and we have already highlighted that is good for consultation.  There is no point expecting people to always come to the ‘artistic’ venues.

Artists from the Lincolnshire Artists Forum have already put a project outline in to the South Holland District Council for a one month project, running workshops and exhibiting, established and emerging artists, aiming at engagement.  We are hoping for practical help and support to make it happen as the SHDC is a supportive partner to Creative People and Places.

(In Boston have started talking to a representative from a local traders group who are looking to regenerate their street.)

Continuing the theme of going to where the people are to generate views and involvement.  Market places were mentioned in the open space event.

Boston has a medieval market event on the 20 May to celebrate the refurbishment of the market place.  Being organised by the County Council.  Should this project have a stall?  No doubt numerous other  opportunities to join similar events and be where the people are.

Also need to feed all the relevant newsletters that go out from art related and other societies with articles to publish.

What do you think should happen to encourage people to get more involved in the arts locally?

We need a PR campaign – and soon!

I’m sure between us we have lots of media contacts that we can use.  I know I’ve had at least one reporter from the local press enjoying a stained glass workshop at the studio….

Questions that are being posed like images for twitter  identity and project names are good for public competitions and getting lots of people involved.  We need to work in positive partnership with all the local media and take the initiative quickly.  It needs PLANNING.

Build a clear understanding of how the arts can work for the good of the area and the people who live here.

Have a very obvious presence and impact.

More opportunities for involvement in the places where people usually go.

Strong leadership from local artists as well as exposure to ideas from outside the area.

I would like to learn from good practice and experience elsewhere as well as all the new projects we will grow in house.

What ideas do you have for exciting, innovative ways to get more people involved in the arts in the area? Please also estimate how much it might cost.

We have asked for a rent and rates free, centrally placed, shop with £1000 for equipment.

We need to establish a model.