On Monday we had our initial getting-to-know-you meeting with Paulette Terry Brien – a gallery director and organiser based in Manchester and our mentor.
We will be having further meetings with Paulette to help us develop our practice in the ways that she will help us identify. As a part of these meetings we will decide what other people we might get advice from useful for facilitating our progress. We have A-n and their NAN funding to thank for making these meetings possible. Huge thanks A-n!
The setting for our meeting was our gallery. Later we moved onto the Belle and herbs and had soup. It was really great both to speak to and hear an outside person's take on our collective and gallery. Before starting them I must admit I was a bit worried our mentor meetings would be a bit too formal and impersonal but on meeting Paulette these concerns went right away. To cut a long explanation short, we really got on with her. It was obvious from the outset she was taking a real interest in what we are doing – and we were taking an interest in her activities as well. And on a personal level, her being a genuinely friendly person made it all the easier.
There was some talk of the possibilities of becoming a limited company – the pros, such as the usefulness of this as regards applying for arts council funding, and cons like the extra load of paperwork – amongst other things that will no doubt have certain effects on the running of the collective and gallery: talk of constitutions and business plans that might at first sound restricting but should in actual fact make things easier and clearer, control and tame the beast, lest it pull us the wrong way…or not at all!
The next meeting with Paulette will be in Manchester which will give us a chance to see her own gallery, the International 3, and other similar galleries relevant to our own. We look forward to seeing her there…and staying at my folks' place.