My name is Bev and I'm one of the people running Haarlem Artspace, in Wirksworth, Derbyshire, a not-for-profit gallery and artist studios. Haarlem Artspace has been running a contemporary art exhibition programme since 2016, and we now have an amazing opportunity to set up a brand new, ambitious, contemporary art gallery for the local community, in partnership with the Red Lion. We've filled the beautiful space in our studios at Haarlem Mill. The new gallery will be large, so we'll have scope to bring some incredible artwork of considerable scale to Wirksworth. We anticipate it being an inviting space for when you're visiting Wirksworth, and much more convenient than heading down to the mill as we'll be right in the centre of town. It'll be a lasting legacy for our gallery at Haarlem Mill. We need your help to make it happen.
We will sensitively restore the original Assembly Rooms for the town in the Red Lion, also known as the function room, once again bringing it back into use for the community. We'll focus on rural contemporary art, showcasing some of the outstanding talent we have locally, and we'll bring high-profile contemporary artists from elsewhere to Wirksworth. As we become established, we'll be running events and classes from the gallery too, and we'll be able to offer something to the public year-round, as well as at the annual Wirksworth Festival.
We're in need of funds to renovate the space and buy necessary equipment (things like lighting, PA, projectors etc). The renovation will cost in the region of £18,000 and we're aiming to raise some of this from community support. We're also applying to Arts Council England, and have applied to a number of smaller funders already, from whom we're waiting to hear.
If successful, we'll open in November with a stunning group show called Gathering, which focuses in on communal acts of intimacy between people, site and materials, connecting the community with our rural landscape. From prehistoric sites, contemporary folk rituals, rural ‘honesty’ customs, group therapy and rave music, 10 interdisciplinary artists will explore gathering and its value after covid.
The new gallery will add to the already attractive ale house, boutique hotel and restaurant complex alongside the inimitable Feather Star Ale House, Red Lion Hotel, and restaurant Umami, complementing the existing offer with a creative space and bringing art together with ale, boutique hotel, music and food. We anticipate attracting tourists to the area, who'll spend in the local shops, bringing prosperity to the town.
For me, being part of creating Haarlem Artspace has been a joy and a passion since 2017 when we first opened on the top floor of Haarlem Mill. We've battled against the tide of closing arts organisations over the the last year, and I'd love to see us grow again, opening the doors of a new, larger, beautiful gallery for you all to enjoy. The whole team would be incredibly grateful of your support, and any donation, small or large, will be very gratefully received.
Thank you from the whole team,
Bev Shephard, Livvy Punnett, Catherine Rogers, Geoff Litherland and Keren Bramman, and all the many studio holders at Haarlem Artspace.
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