CHAIRMAN’S LETTER 2017-2018
Our Society is 35 years old this year and to celebrate this along with 50 years of NADFAS (as was) we are holding a party after our AGM on 13 June.
This will be at Hemingford Abbots Village Hall, there will be a speaker on the New Hall art collection and we hope to see you there.
Our founder Chairman Lady Hemingford died in January after a long illness. Jenny Hemingford encouraged all the Society's activities for many years. We owe her a great debt and will remember her with respect and affection. She was an enthusiastic supporter of volunteering and she would be pleased to see our Young Arts, Garden Group and Church Recorders are flourishing. The CAYAC exhibition that was our Area celebration of The Arts Society's golden jubilee (see YA report below) added to our recognition and relationships with local schools.
The number of our members fell sharply this year from 225 to 203. This is a matter of concern and we urge everyone to encourage friends and acquaintances to join us. Without sufficient numbers we will not be able to afford the Burgess Hall and other expenses will also become onerous.
At the end of my three years as Chairman I would like to thank all those who help us in various ways such as teas and comments on lectures. Our webmaster leaves after 13 years of quiet work for which he deserves many thanks; we have been lucky to find a successor. The members of the committee have supported me unstintingly, sometimes while battling ill-health, and have my gratitude. Two members are retiring along with me after years of sterling service in a variety of roles. I am delighted that we have recruited excellent newcomers to the committee and am confident the Society will be guided with flair and competence.
Elspeth Gibbon - Chairman
PROGRAMME SECRETARY’S REPORT
This year has, once again, demonstrated the amazing quality of the Arts Society lecturers. We have had nothing graded less than ‘Very Good’, with mostly ‘Excellent’ and 2 lectures judged to be ‘Outstanding’. I should like to make the point that ‘Very Good’ means just that, very good. It is not damning with faint praise. Despite having one lecturer hospitalized at the last minute, we were able to find a replacement, who introduced us to an artist, Joachin Sorolla, who was previously unknown to many members. This may, we hope, be followed up by a visit to his exhibition in the future.
Next year’s programme is now booked and I shall be handing it over to my successor as I leave the committee this summer.
VISITS SECRETARY’S REPORT
The following visits were enjoyed by the members during the past year.
April - Paul Nash at the Sainsbury Centre University of East Anglia
June – Grimsthorpe Castle in Lincolnshire
September – Waddesden Manor – Buckinghamshire
November – Norwich Castle with exhibition of Rembrandt’s portraits
January 2018 – Fabergé exhibition at the Sainsbury Centre at the University of East Anglia
March 2018 – Charles 1st at the Royal Academy and Charles 2nd at the Queen’s Gallery
For the visit to Waddesden it was decided to try a different coach company to see if it would be cheaper.It was not a satisfactory experiment and it was obvious from comments that the company that we used was nowhere near as comfortable as Dews, so we have reverted.
MEMBERSHIP SECRETARY’S REPORT
Total membership as we come to the end of the 2017/2018 academic year, currently stands at 202 with an average of 120 members attending each lecture over the past year. The end of year total is a fairly substantial drop in the membership numbers from the 2016/2017 one. There were paying visitors each month and visitor numbers varied dependent on the lecture subject.
Current membership fees are £42 (single membership) and £79 (for married couples).
The membership list needs to be as up-to-date with all your details as can be achieved and the Society is currently undergoing a ‘Confirmation of Personal Details’ exercise. The form is available at the ‘Check-In’ desk at the monthly lecture. Thanks you to all members who have already completed and returned the form. From September 2018, if anyone does change any of their address details, please do let me know as soon as possible and I can then ensure that you continue to receive the Arts Society Quarterly Magazine etc. My contact details are on your membership card.
HERITAGE VOLUNTEERS CO-ORDINATOR’S REPORT
(GARDENS –CHURCH RECORDERS – YOUNG ARTS).
Once again our Volunteers have been very busy as you will see from the following reports. There is still room for any others who wish to get involved in Education and Conservation.
This year we continued to support Cambridgeshire Gardens Trust in their ambitious survey of the walled gardens of Cambridgeshire, associated topics and conservation work. If you would like to know more about this friendly group, which each year warmly welcomes new members, please see our website entry or get in touch with Judith Christie, or with any of our committee members, who will be delighted to chat with you
CHURCH RECORDERS’ GROUP
The Church Recording Group is still recording St Peter & St Paul Church, Fenstanton, which was started in February 2016. It has been a difficult year for the group as long term serious health issues have affected 3 of our small group of 10 for most of the last year and these recorders are still unable to participate. As a group we are deeply saddened by their situation but hugely indebted to them for their contributions thus far. Of late, their workload is being carried on by others. Despite this set-back, the vast majority of observational work within the church has been completed as has much of the historical research. The writing up and editing of the various sections of the record (10 in all) is well underway and it is hoped that compilation of the final record can begin in earnest in a few months’ time. We continue to meet on Thursday mornings at the church when life permits and, as always, I extend my sincere appreciation and thanks to all members of the group for their dedication, hard work and tenacity as we move the project forward.
YOUNG ARTS CO-ORDINATOR’S REPORT
It has been another busy year in the Young Arts area, with many examples of joined up work involving more than one society and its own dedicated volunteers, all helping to display art work by local children, and encouraging innovative approaches to many subjects, using art as the aid to communication. In the run up to the celebrations of the Arts Society (previously NADFAS) 50th year, an ambitious programme of events was planned involving all 3 counties in the East Anglia Area. We took a pragmatic decision to work with exhibitions and competitions already in place, in order to keep costs under control and to avoid over burdening individuals already providing time and skills to local projects.
Our biggest and continuous project is the work we do between schools and Hinchingbrooke Hospital (currently about 15 primary and 5 secondary schools) providing volunteers who mount and display work sent in by schools once or twice each term. The Volunteers are coordinated by Margaret Gledhill, YA rep for Hunts Arts Society. We adorn the long empty corridors that all hospitals have, with art from pre-school to ‘A’ level students. Every level has its own charms, the younger children’s efforts often bringing a smile to everyone’s faces to the breath-taking factor of top Juniors and Secondary school work. The benefits are multiple; every young person who has their work exhibited grows in confidence. The teachers and schools get the opportunity to show what they can do. It also helps schools to show they are working with the community and achieve the ‘Art Mark’ if they are applying for it. The hospital staff tell us how much it lifts patients, visitors and themselves to see what our talented children and schools are producing. On one of their inspections this initiative was given a big plus point. Specific areas have asked us to provide more display. Since the merger with Peterborough and Stamford hospitals in April 2017, it has become possible to involve a wider group of schools. It is hoped to extend involvement with some of the projects planned f or 2018.
A big thank you to Ros Neugebauer who originally set up an arrangement with Huntingdon Regional College SEND department to commission printing and packaging. A short trial of 25 packs sold quickly, so two further print runs of 100 packs were done, each pack containing 6 notelets. To date, with all print costs covered and about 50 packs remaining for sale, we were able to make a donation of £200 to the Woodlands cancer unit extension fund at Hinchingbrooke. A report and photo appeared in Hunts Post. It is certainly something that has become a cherished part of our activities. This year Ros helped to choose 10 paintings from the Cambridge Young Artists Competition to be made into cards that are already proving a great success, from the way the sales have gone from visitors to the exhibition as well as our sales at the signing in desk.
Cambridgeshire Area Young Artists Competition (CAYAC) was the first event in the East Anglia Area’s programme of celebration of NADFAS 50 year birthday. The exhibition took place on March 16th and 17th at Cottenham Village College. It had been hoped that Arts Society members from neighbouring districts would be able to attend on Friday 16th and to vote for Best –in-Show in Primary and Secondary School age groups, with a formal opening of the exhibition by a member of the national team of The Arts Society. Unfortunately, plans were interrupted at a late stage by a heavy snowfall which closed the school on the originally planned date for the exhibition. Undeterred, volunteers rallied round and the show went on two weeks later (with more snow!), but children and families were able to see the work achieved by children of all ages in our local schools.
The project was sponsored by East Anglian Area Arts Society, Hunts and S Cambs Arts Societies and the Parnell Trust. Prizes were generously donated by Cambridgeshire School of Visual and Performing Arts for secondary school age group and by Stained Glass Artist Sarah Hunt, who has offered a workshop with the winner and classmates of the Best in Show in Primary school. Most of the hard work was provided by the volunteers from Arts Society Huntingdonshire.
Further events will take place across the East Anglia area during 2018. Local societies are providing host arrangements in their localities.
Thanks go to all who have made the celebrations possible.
Jill Donnelly, YA Coordinator for Cambridgeshire
Margaret Gledhill YA Rep for Arts Soc Huntingdonshire.
The Committee took two important financial decisions last year. The first was to decide that as there was dwindling interest in the New Year lunch at the Dolphin, to have instead, for 2018 only, a tenth lecture in January. Lectures at Burgess Hall cost around £600-£650, for the lecture fee and hire of the hall.
The second decision was that as we have healthy reserves we also thought it fairer to you, our members, to cover the cost out of reserves rather than increase the subscription.
However you will see from the report there was a sharp drop in our membership last year, and so we lost income.
Despite all this we have again decided that this year we would still like to keep the subscription at £42 for the coming year. In 2018-2019 we are planning nine lectures and a different, less expensive format for the AGM.
It is important going forward to increase our membership. We need you all to support the Committee in its various efforts to bring new members into the Society.
Carole Pook Treasurer
Also see financial statement.
Annual reports 2017-2018