Celebrating a-n's achievements
Were proud of what a-n Magazine has achieved over its thirty-two years. On the occasion of the last print edition we invited many of our collaborators and contributors to help us celebrate and mark this moment by giving us a few words - a short testimonial of what a-n means to them. Here, they reflect on our significant role for artists and on the value of a-n Magazine, publications or initiatives.
"a-n Magazine made life for artists far richer in many ways. The founders, should be immensely proud of the impact that the magazine has made on artists' careers and on the visual arts landscape in the UK and internationally. There are far too many examples of high quality reviews, powerful critical writing, essential advice, case studies and resources to mention here. Suffice to say that I'm incredibly relieved that the services, interventions and high level advocacy on behalf of all artists will continue in the new formats. Congratulations on the amazing achievements of the magazine to all the team at a-n."
"a-n has been one of the most passionate and sustained advocates for visual artists for over thirty years. At a time when artists' earnings are more precarious than ever, we need to recognise and value the vital contribution that artists make to our culture, society and economy. a-n has played a significant role in doing just that throughout its history and continues to be a champion for thousands of visual artists in the UK."
Chief Executive, DACS
"a-n is a fabulous network, resource, advocate and support. Whilst I will miss the magazine, I wholly support the bold shift in approach. a-n is pioneering, forward thinking and embraces change with the fearless, open minded attitude, we all need to embrace. I look forward to the new developments and I know that a-n will continue to connect, inspire, teach, consider and share. Thank you for all that you have done for artists and the art community already and thank you for all you intend to do."
Learning Manager, CCE - Creativity, Culture and Education www.creativitycultureeducation.org
"There is something 'warming' about knowing that people respect what you do and want to help you do it. a-n Magazine has, over the past thirty-two years, found a balance here by providing timely advice, critical discussion and detailed information without the patronising attitude. As an artist this makes me feel less isolated and confident that I can find answers, or information, I can trust. As an educator working in the visual arts, a-n has provided a go-to location for proactive students ready to launch themselves into the industry. It is difficult enough surviving as an artist -so, as we double dip, and watch funding and support evaporate, we really need someone to help us with timely advice and critical analysis. The 'warming' will continue."
Artist and lecturer in fine art
"When I was a visual arts rookie, a-n Magazine was part of my essential toolkit and over the years I have watched the organisation and magazine grow into an essential resource and support organisation for artists in the UK. Providing networking, information sharing, research, debate and work opportunities, a-n continually challenged the support structure for artists, pushed forward the debate, and was always trying to improve conditions and current practice. The magazine continued to grow from strength to strength and I always looked forward it dropping onto the mat every month! But times move on and so does a-n as this new response to the needs and working practices of its sector.
Director at Maggie Bolt Associates
"I still own the first twenty-five years of the magazine, and remember the excellent work done by a-n providing vital information when no one else performed that crucial service. I strongly recommended it to successive generations of students."
Artist and Director, Howard Gardens Gallery, Cardiff School of Art and Design www.richard-cox.co.uk
"a-n has been a credible voice, a supportive nurturer and a passionate champion of UK visual artists for three decades. The practice and circumstances of artists have changed enormously during that period and it is hugely to a-n's credit that it has managed to stay relevant and connected to each generation of artists that it serves."
Arts Council England Head Office
"Instead of mourning the much-loved and used magazine, there's only excitement at what may come in the future - the dedicated ingenuity of the a-n team knows no bounds. I first came across a-n many years ago now - it has since become a bible and the best source of information when working with visual artists. I always recommend it to artists and regret that other art forms have nothing to match it."
CidaCo, The Creativity and Innovation Company
"I recall when a Visual Arts Grants Officer at Arts Council of Great Britain in the 1970s how little information there was for visual artists struggling to make their careers. Fortunately by 1982 when I joined the Crafts Council, Artist Newsletter had come into existence, providing invaluable advice on subjects ranging from what to charge to where to find work opportunities. So when I came to produce Running A Workshop, the Crafts Council's guide for craftspeople, a-n provided some of the essential material. Over the years whilst at the Crafts Council, I continued to value the relationship with a-n. The vibrancy of today's visual arts is, to an extent, due to a-n in professionalising the sector, and enabling artists to feel more confident about all those necessary tasks required in addition to artistic creativity."
Chief Executive, Arts & Business Scotland
"Receiving a mention for Revolutionary Arts right back when we started, in a town which had no contemporary arts scene, was vitally important. It was both a stamp of approval and a sign that we weren't alone - and we probably wouldn't have kept going without a-n's continued support and advice in the last twelve years."
Revolutionary Arts, Empty Shops Network
"When I graduated from the RCA, a-n was a guiding light for me as a new graduate. It was informative, intelligent and gave me a wider, richer view of the art world, one which was not solely concerned with the YBA's. It was also a fantastic resource for opportunities to exhibit my work. I had always aspired to be in a-n when I graduated and was delighted when that came true on a couple of occasions as an artist and as a writer."
Artist and AIR Council member
"a-n has been an invaluable resource for me over the years. Providing me with information and advice as a new graduate, inviting me to be part of the NAN family for several years, and offering much needed work in the form of writing commissions and opportunities such as 'Artists and curators talking'. It also took a chance on publishing an a-n Research paper the Boxed In report, critiquing diversity policies in the sector, at a time when most would not enter into the fray. I remain appreciative of this risk-taking, and the faith shown in myself and other artists in being given a platform to speak for - and represent - ourselves."
Artist, arts consultant and writer
"Fashionable arty magazines have come and gone over those thirty two years but, over that time, a-n Magazine has been the one I regard as having had the most consistent (and unpretentious) finger on the pulse of art activity in the UK."
Neil Armstrong Artist
"a-n is a constant, rich and reliable source of support and information to visual artists and I look forward to many more years of the same, enabling and advocating for individual practitioners."
"Before the internet and blogs and social media there was a-n Magazine. It was the platform for conversation, information and advice for all of us working in the visual arts. It broke stories and brokered partnerships, and always championed the artist as a the central force in advancing the visual arts. So it's with a fond farewell a-n Magazine - you were a good 'un."
Andrea Hawkins Director, Buddleia
"Through every facet of the publication and its operations, a-n provides a means for artists to contribute to the collective knowledge and resource sharing that comes from being a practicing, working artist. For many years, artists involved in our organisation have talked about the excellent service a-n provides for artists, everything from timely commentaries on news stories to practical professional development information for artists. I look forward to seeing how a-n evolves in this new phase."
Executive Director, CARFAC National, Canada
"Over the years I've seen a-n grow into a dynamic support network for artists, which carries out distinctive research and advocacy. At engage we're consistently impressed by the a-n team's energy and enthusiasm, and the high quality of its resources and events. We look forward to many more years of partnership working with a-n."
Director of engage, the National Association for Gallery Education
"I had the privilege of being involved for a little while in a-n's early days. Since then it has become the indispensable source of information, support and encouragement for artists. There is nothing like it half so good. Long may a-n continue."
Business advisor, Creative Leicestershire
"I've been reading a-n since I started working in the visual arts in the early 1990s. It's informative, ahead of the curve, imparting good advice and giving a strong voice to the sector. a-n has always been a site for debate, and place to find opportunities to work with others, to collaborate and join communities. I wish a-n all the best in its new format, I'm sure it will continue to play a pivotal role in the visual arts."
Director Whitstable Biennale
"I've never known a time when a-n Magazine wasn't sat amongst the titles of art periodicals and it will be a strange omission in the future. As a curator and latterly as a director, I have always read it and even contributed to it with a slight sense of respectful detachment. This sense has been brought about by a-n's absolute dedication and determination to provide help, advice and opportunity to practising artists and over the years, no other organisation has matched its capacity to share information in this field. Of course, we all benefit from a-n's work, but it is that unerring commitment to artists that is so important, and it will continue to be highly valued in its virtual future."
Director BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art
"The research and statistical information produced by a-n is invaluable for those of us working in the sector who need to keep abreast of the needs, values and behaviours of artists in a rapidly changing visual arts ecology and economy."
Director, Contemporary Art Society
"a-n provides a place, a voice, an opinion and a vehicle for artists to share their news and opportunities. a-n has always been an innovator."
Chief Executive Officer, Creative Scotland
“a-n is and always will be a first port of call for artists. a-n - we trust and respect you”
CEO, Cockpit Arts
"There are only few words that adequately sum up a-n's achievements over its thirty-two year existence and the value of its services to practitioners in the arts.
Stupendous might be one, as in astounded and amazed by the thirty-two years of success and development, responding to the needs of artists and practitioners and supporting them in developing their professional practice in a complex and changing environment.
Brilliant is another, as in fantastic how a professional team of full-timers, part-timers and freelancers, spread over a wide geographical area, has managed to deliver every month a great magazine and developed an ever expanding and valuable resource through its website.
Courageous, as in bravely venturing onto new terrain, entering into partnerships, building new connections and engaging in debate and discourse where it is most needed.
Inspirational, as in encouraging and also challenging, in how the the organisation has responded to changing practice, to continue to be effective, anticipating the changing demands placed on professional practice in the arts.
Reassuring, that a-n is still there and remains relevant, up to date and a fantastic resource for information, debate, exchange, support and encouragement.
Thank you and good luck."
Wiard Sterk is a freelance art consultant and writer, and is the Principle of Urban Condition. He has nearly two decades of experience of working with artists in the public realm, most in a senior management capacity.
"In the transition from paper to digital a-n Magazine moves with its readers into a more mobile and resilient format in which the depth of the archive is easily accessible. This archive contains some of the most intelligent and thoughtful new writings on arts practices, policies and development strategies. Reading a-n Magazine the voice of the artist is always bubbling close to the surface which is a testament to the vision and commitment of it's staff."
Please add your own comments and testimonials below.
First published: a-n.co.uk May 2012
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