Welcome to our new website

Welcome to our new website. We are thrilled to bits to share it with you. Thank you to Rebecca Scambler – arts activist, single mum and designer extraordinaire who created this for us (read her fantastic Art Of Protest blog here and check her website design services here).

One of the biggest things am excited about with this new website is being able to communicate the full scope of the Art Salon – our artists, supporters, vision. When you are growing an arts organisation on very, very little, every bit of support helps. We have a new strapline, which says it all. At the heart of the Art Salon is equal access to art – which you can see in the projects we run, the people we work with and support – from all backgrounds. Cambridge is rapidly becoming as expensive as central London to live in – and to work. Although we have fantastic free to visit arts spaces, like Changing Spaces, Kettles Yard, the Fitzwilliam and many more (highlighted on our Art Map) – our concern is helping people access the space and support they need to practice art, as well as engage with it – regardless of how rich, or well connected they might be. A studio to an artist is like a kitchen to a chef. And Grayson Perry is right, it’s not the rich who produce culture. So affordable studio space for the community like ours – is vital for any city that prides itself on supporting the arts.

We won an award last year from what can do with disused space, described by judges as a ‘great social enterprise that nurtures people as well as community’. But the hunt for long term space – and resource to fund this – goes on. We have an open call to property owners, investors, philanthropists, business and individuals to help us – get in touch if you have access to an underused space that you’d like to see put to good use. Or if you’d like to talk to us about helping us buy property to preserve as long term creative space for the community. In the meantime, read our articles to see what our people and projects have helped bring to the city (check Spotlight On… each month for a full feature), or go behind the scenes At The Studios to see what the makers there are up to. Watch official call out for the third ever Romsey Art Festival this year, too – celebrating community through contemporary art, with a theme of COLOUR AND MAGIC for its new date of September 5th – 19th, 2015. East Cambridge is where we started, where the festival happens and where we are currently based – with Romsey Town itself the inspiration behind the Romsey Art Festival, which is still all about celebrating the creative independence and community represented by the area.

Personally, I have been flatout throughout January working on the final stages of our fantastic feminist Art Salon project Female Voices partnered with Romsey Mill which brought the likes of Phoebe Davies INFLUENCES NAIL BAR to Cambridge’s first ever Women Of The World Festival (WOW) last October (as heard on Radio 4’s Women’s Hour no less). Please come to our exhibition in March, launching on March 3rd – featuring a fabulous programme of female artists whose work successfully engages with popular culture to make feminism more accessible to new generations of young women (check the flier, stunning design from Katy Figg). We’ve helped our girls interview role models such as Mayor of Cambridge Gerri Bird. We’ve commissioned Sa’adiah Khan to create a portable space that has been on tour around the city facilitating discussion between girls and women in Cambridge, too – The Women’s Room – from Sa’adiah Khan. Plus catch videos from the likes of female rapper Shay-D or performance artist Bryony Kimmings, at our show.

2014 was one of the toughest years we faced as a young arts organisation without core funding. The fact you’re reading this now in 2015 is a testimony to all the passion so many people have shared for the Art Salon since we started in 2011 – and our resilience, the grassroots power of people, art and community to make things happen. Many of you will know that we had to move premises last Summer. But thanks to Cambridge City Council we found new space for our studios to move to in June – and are so thankful to everyone who stepped in help us throughout that very stressful time. I’d also like to offer my heartfelt condolences to the family of Simon Sedgwick-Jell, former head of Cambridge City Council who was a massive moral support to the Art Salon back then – and sadly passed away in December. Generosity and kindness goes such a long way.

We’re delighted to be working with a new property in secret location in North Cambridge this January, for later this year. Do you live in Chesterton or the Arbury? Would you like to show your work, or help make a mini art space for the community happen? We’re particularly keen to hear from you.

Finally, would you like to come and work with us? We are looking for a one day a week administrator or co-ordinator to help with the studios and our projects and invite applications from you all now. Please pass on the opportunity. We’re also looking for a new Chair for our board of trustees – a person as passionate as we are, about art and creative culture’s value in the community, dedicated to our commitment to equality and social inclusion.

Wishing you all the best ever January (and for more on the broader art scene in Cambridge don’t forget to pick up a copy of my arts column in the lovely Cambridge Edition magazine).

Ruthie x