I was deeply saddened by the announcement from Artsway that the organisation is to close this summer. Very few organisations have shown such dedicated support to artists, such as me and tried to take responsibility and introduce a legacy for the artists they worked with.
Artsway also worked hard to introduce artists and their work to audiences. Small, incredibly ambitious organisations like Artsway are the core of the visual arts sector, desperately needed against the ubiquitous silo spaces, biding for the next high profile, international artist to show. Artsway tried to develop an alternative model, in a difficult place, not an urban environment where audiences are easy to engage, which ACE failed to accept – without realising that this was a very unique place and most inspiring setting for artist to be creative.
The ACE focus upon Great Art for Everybody has, I believe, misfired in many instances. The regional councils were allowed by national office to take provincial decisions, not helped by national officers and board neglecting to take what should have been the really challenging and hard decision by reviewing per capita investment in each region.
A visionary arts council would be trying much harder to retain and support more organisations like Artsway, despite the challenging financial climate.
a-n.co.uk April 2012