Blue Monkey Network is an artists’ organisation run by artists for artists. Organiser Judith Alder, runs the Network in partnership with Eastbourne’s Towner gallery, who invited Blue Monkey to establish the Network in 2011. Since then the group has held monthly talks and networking events at Towner. For 2013, the Network is supported by a Grant for the Arts from the National Lottery through Arts Council England.
After a great evening out last month at Fabrica with Sharon Haward, we were back on home ground at Towner last night for our latest Network event.
The evening took a format which we’ve followed before – 5 artists talking about their work for 5 minutes each & showing 15 images, Pecha Kucha style. It’s a great discipline for the presenting artists to make those essential decisions about what aspect of their practice they want to present and how to do it concisely. It’s also a great way for the audience to get an insight into our members’ really diverse and inventive practices.
We had a really entertaining evening and saw (& heard) some great work by a painter, a musician-composer, and 3 artists working in very different ways with sculpture & installation.
As always it was a pleasure to meet some artists’ we’d never met before who’d come along to find out more about us, and also to welcome our visitor for the evening, Laurence Dube-Rushby who had travelled from Salisbury to visit Blue Monkey & Towner for the first time.
Our hard working and very well prepared presenters for the evening were :
and thanks are due to all of them for sharing their thoughts and their work with us.
One of our Blue Monkey New Year Resolutions is to get out more, meet new people, make new friends and see more art!
This week, one of our members, Sharon Haward, has been spending the week at Fabrica, Brighton, using their unique and challenging space to explore ideas in her practice. It’s part of Fabrica’s Making Space project – an opportunity for artists to use the space when it’s not being used for exhibtions, to try out new things.
This evening, we’re going to hold our monthly network event at Fabrica & we’re looking forward to seeing what Sharon’s been up to and hearing about how the week has been for her. Sharon’s been blogging about the week too at www.a-n.co.uk/p/4300461
Hopefully the evening will give us the chance to meet some Brighton artists who don’t manage to get to our events in Eastbourne very often too, and offer the opportunity for some of our members to find out a bit more about Fabrica & how they might be able to use its Artists Resource and tap into the support it offers to artists.
Long time, no blog! Since my last post we’ve welcomed some lovely guests to Eastbourne to talk at our events, including Sheila MacGregor and Ruth Wilbur from Axisweb* who ran a couple of workshops and offered 1-2-1 sessions to half a dozen of our artists. That was way back in September and in October another very welcome guest was Stephen Turner who came and talked to us about his amazing Exbury Egg* project which we very much enjoyed.
For a little while we’re now focusing on our own members experiences in a series of events where we’re making opportunities for artists to share information, knowledge and experience. Last month 3 of our members gave their time for 8 long, strenuous days, helping to install the amazing Chiharu Shiota exhibition, Other Side*, at Towner. Next week the 3 will take us on a walk through the exhibition and tell us about the physically demanding and labour intensive processes which went into the installation and we’ll talk about what they learned by working behind the scenes at Towner, and the pros and cons of volunteering.
Our out of hours look at Chiharu Shiota’s Other Side exhibition will take place next Wednesday, 18th December from 6.30pm with our volunteers, Sheila Hay, Nikki Davidson-Bowman and Katy Oxborrow at Towner.
An outing, a new group, a workshop and a big event!
Things have been pretty busy here at Blue Monkey this last few weeks. Admin queen, Cat Ingrams, has been working her socks off trying to get everyone organised! What with a day trip to Margate, our new Crit Group and our big Axis event coming up next week, Cat’s Inbox has been bulging.
A small but enthusiastic group of Blue Monkey members LOVED their day out to Turner Contemporary to see the fantastic Curiosity show just before it closed. We successfully negotiated the 4 minute train connection at Ashford International and then made the most of the time we’d saved by taking an hour to do the 10 minute walk to the gallery, stopping for 2 fag-breaks and a coffee on the way! We all loved the show AND the chance to talk about our favourite bits on the journey home.
Crit Group is now almost fully formed (though there is still one space available if anyone’s interested?) We’re looking forward to starting on the 9th October with 12 artists each showing work in progress over the course of 6 sessions. It should be a great chance to explore some ideas surrounding people’s work and hopefully the commitment of attending all the sessions should lead to some interesting themes developing over the course of the weeks.
Next week we’re very excited to be welcoming Sheila MacGregor and Ruth Wilbur from Axis. Sheila and Ruth are running 2 workshops for us on Thursday & Friday all about maintaining an effective online presence. There’s been a great demand for these workshops and out of a total of nearly 50 spaces over the 2 sessions, there are only 4 spaces left – book NOW if you think you want one of those last 4 spaces!
Last but not least in this busy month is Blue Monkey Studio’s BIG BIRTHDAY BASH to celebrate 10 good years since Wycliffe Stutchbury, Cat Ingrams, Alison Haddon and I set up our shared workspace. We could never have guessed then that we’d still be going strong 10 years later! Happy birthday to us!
OO something new!
We’re just launching one of the new initiatives which our Grant for the Arts is enabling us to provide. It’s one of those “luxury items” which it’s incredibly difficult to measure as far as value for money is concerned, but it’s something we think is incredibly important. Not everyone will want to do it because, at certain stages during the cycle of our practices, the last thing we want to do is talk about or get feedback on our work – and at other times we’d give our last hot cross bun for the chance! So for a fortunate dozen or so artists who are at THAT stage of the proceedings and within reach of Eastbourne, this is a great chance to be part of a group of artists who will dedicate a couple of hours a fortnight to get together and talk about each other’s work and the wider contexts and implications of it at a new Blue Monkey Network Crit Group.
The idea is that 10-12 artists will commit to attending the group for the whole 12 week period, meeting once a fortnight. At each session, two artists will bring along work for discussion and feedback in an atmosphere of mutual trust and co-operation, and be part of a stimulating conversation and critical discussion about each other’s work and the wider issues surrounding it.
The group will be facilitated by Blue Monkey member Sheila Hay and we plan to get started round about the beginning of October through to December 2013, at Towner, Eastbourne. Cat and I are going to be there too to take part in the conversations and we’re really looking ofrward to getting to know more about our members’ work. Exciting stuff!