A (brief) blog reflecting on 2017!

As sketch of Rotherham by Caitlin Richardson who completed two weeks work experience with us!

This year has proven another fantastic year for the arts in Rotherham. I know this because I have spent the year trying to fit in every single event in my weekly mail-out! From continuous exhibitions at local galleries, annual festivals such as the Diversity Festival and Festival of Angels, to unique first time events such as Open Minds’ performance of ‘A Symphony of Metal, Fire and Water’ on the River Don and a visit from The Floating Cinema over the summer, 2017 has been jam packed.

There have been a number of projects I have been working on which have resulted in me interacting more closely with Rotherham’s local artists, something which has been the most rewarding to me this year.

Firstly, putting together Rotherham’s 2017 Artist Directory. Although this was a lengthy process and a test to my organisational skills (as I said recently it felt like my third dissertation) it was all made worthwhile by the positive reaction we have had since publication. My favourite moment was when one of the featured Artists saw her photographs in print. Typically one to downplay her talent, I could see a pride in her eyes and rightly so.

I have also started writing a feature focusing on a different ROAR member for local Chase magazine (first one published in the latest issue for Dec/Jan). I have thoroughly enjoyed delving into the past lives and present work of the members I have interviewed thus far. As well as acting as a good promotional tool, I have always cherished having more in-depth conversations with people, especially creatives as they always have interesting ideas. I look forward to continuing to do this next year.

Finally came Chris and Ken’s 100 Portraits exhibition earlier this month. Having been one of the 50 volunteers sitting as part of the project, I had also witnessed the pair working against the clock to complete other portraits. For this reason, I was invested in their preview evening being a success; I interviewed the pair before the exhibition which you can read here. I was very excited to see my portrait revealed for the first time but also more importantly, to witness the end result, the culmination of these 100 faces. The location of the exhibition only gave it more gravitas; an old industrial Warehouse on Wortley Road, a new creative site in Rotherham which has given local Artists much needed scope to expand and explore.

Working in the arts is a blessing in so many ways, I look forward to seeing what 2018 has to hold for us!