On the evening of Friday 15th January Hastings Arts Forum held an open house for local artists and people interested in the arts to highlight both their future plans and the benefits of becoming a member of the Forum.
This event was the result of a review undertaken by the trustees where they re-examined their core aims and objectives and took soundings from current members from which they developed a three year business plan to ensure financial sustainability into the future.
The event was opened by Liz Gilmore, director of the Jerwood Gallery who talked about Hastings and St. Leonard’s rich artistic heritage and the current vibrant cultural life of the area, acknowledging the part Hastings Arts Forum plays within the community, offering local artists the opportunity to showcase and promote their work and offering the local community another venue to access art.
Christine M’Baye, chairman of The Forum, then took the audience through the plans, the enhanced membership offer, the events being planned for the future and the new branding and website that have been developed.
The highlight of the evening was an interview with artist Alan Rankle, whose work is currently being exhibited in both Berlin and Milan, by nationally acclaimed author and journalist Judy Parkinson. The discussion was illustrated by a moving gallery of Alan’s work on a large screen and focused on his own journey through what has influenced the development of his work and how he continued developing his skills and styles through exploring different techniques and learning from various, less conventional sources.
Asked by Parkinson about the relevance of his art to the debate on global warming, Rankle stated that it was impossible to be a painter of landscapes in modern times without engaging in the politics of the environmental crisis and he first became aware of the extent of the situation when seeing the early effects of acid rain on the forests of Scandinavia in the 1980’s at a time when the then British government were denying the problem was any concern of theirs.
Alan Rankle and Judy Parkinson have recently collaborated on the production of a book about a project in Venice due to be published in March this year.
Christine M’Baye reflected, “We are very grateful to Liz Gilmore for lending her support to our event and giving such a warm and positive opening address – and to Alan Rankle and Judy Parkinson for a great interview that revealed insight into the working life and experiences of one of the most celebrated artists connected to Hastings/St Leonards. I was so pleased that so many people turned out for our event – I think it must be a record for The Gallery.
Anyone interested in becoming a member or would like to volunteer can either pop in to the Gallery at Hastings Arts Forum and talk to a member of our team or contact us via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.