Going from ideas and possibilities in a manifesto to implementing those dreams has been rewarding if not a bit scary.
But before I go on I must thank all Trustees for their continued support. David Dixon whose energy and creativity are an inspiration, Michael Widen our solid, knowledgeable and devoted “development Officer” , Maija Liepins who has transformed our Website. Welcome Julie Drury and Crescens George two new Trustees who have already done so much and say thank you again to Julie Docherty who resigned as a Trustee. Finally big thanks to Roy Chatfield for his efforts as Treasurer – he also turns out to be a very accomplished writer –more of that later.
We have spent quite some hours reviewing our ambition and objectives. We have tidied up our plans and are focusing on two main themes. Diversifying the range of our activities and projects and securing a long term solid future for The Chapel Arts Studios in Andover– one of TVAFs first projects. The latter continues to sparkle and has attracted the attention of the Arts Council who’s regional Director spent a valuable morning in Andover followed by more colleagues. We are developing this important relationship to assist with specific projects and in the future, perhaps even supporting Chapel Arts! The Studio has a lively team of associate artists who make and enormous contribution to the creative life of the Test Valley (and beyond!)
“And now we tell our tale” – a play with over fifty young people who collected reminiscences from a variety of Andover residents and then turned it into a forty minute plus performance of song, dance, video and lively chat on the 24th February at The Lights in Andover. The organiser was John Baxter a local retired Head of Drama with Mark McGann and Roy Chatfield pulling together the script. The song at the end dedicated to Andover was wonderful!
The other project started early last year, organised by Cat Randle - a “Celebration of Young Peoples Writing” will showcase at The Lights on the 16th June 2015 – supported by our good friends Bewiser Insurance. The purpose is simply to encourage young people to write – the work is being published both on our website and hopefully in an anthology for wider distribution.
Given the task by Sir George Young MP to find a suitable Christmas Card – the last as an MP for the area, Julie Drury and Michael Widen “got stuck in”. Several Primary Schools took part and Sir George finally had a number of lovely images to choose from. Julie is now looking to put together a photography project for the Test Valley which hopefully I can tell you more about next year.
The other highlight of the year - an important manifesto commitment -was taking delivery of a retired Mobile Library to convert into our Arts Bus. Test Valley Borough Council have given us a Grant to make this happen – thanks here to Becca Moore, David Dixon, Michael Widen and Roy Chatfield for their efforts - we are now able to equip it and draw up a programme for its use across the Test Valley.
We are still developing links in Romsey and support Rums Eg through the work of David Dixon and directly sponsoring a number of Arts Exhibitions. This is only the start of an expanding programme of activities in this part of the Test Valley.
One of the joys of the last year was the support we have received by local caring individuals and organisations – Aster Housing invested in “Now we tell our Tale” with my friend John Morton and now retired Hampshire County Councillor Pat West – Bewiser continue to be a core partner. We are always looking for new friends as we can offer so much!!
This then is a short and hopefully readable account of some of the highlights – please do read more on our website but if this short piece stimulates you to thinking about joining us or you have an idea you think we may be interested in please make contact again through our website.
Yinnon Ezra MBE MA RSA Chairman TVAF