Festival Blog

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Schmoozyschlepper’s Blog #2

The Art of it….

For the last few weeks a couple of dozen artists all over Thanet will have been pimping up their studios to get them into their full visitor-worthy glory for the Open Studios, this weekend (17th-18th August and 24-26th August).  Expect beautifully displayed work from diverse talents.  Look at the Open Studios brochure on this website and you’ll see what I mean.   The range of work is amazing – the images to be seen are often colourful, moving, exceptionally well executed, thought provoking and sometimes even all of these.  Not that those are the only criteria by which art should be judged.  Speaking as someone who cannot draw, and honestly prefers a nice bit of Giorgione or Giotto, it has taken me a while to appreciate “modern art” and occasionally one finds oneself wondering what one’s meant to think – and not always getting any help from the artist.   I think I can safely say you will not be called upon to marvel at artful arrangements of buckets and old flags and if you do, the artist will be on hand, and happy to explain her/his intentions – which is the best kind of accessible art!

The art world is famously full  of  factions, and is often driven by fashion, and ultimately, when it comes to who pays what for a painting “the market will decide” – which means that it isn’t always a fair world  (Yes, I know, who said life was fair? – but we can dream, can’t we?). The price of a work isn’t necessarily an indication of its quality – which is marvellous news really, since it means that at both the Open Studios, and in the Open Art Exhibition on the Squall weekend, people can pick up really interesting,  excellent work by highly trained artists for not very much money.

Recently I’ve been handling (but not judging!) the submissions for the Ramsgate Open Exhibition – this has given me a chance to see a lot of what’s going on.  With 120 odd submissions from 71 artists the variety has been amazing – and in a number of cases it hasn’t always been possible to say with any accuracy which artist has had an art school training, and which one has come to full growth by a more circuitous route.  Inevitably the judges had to choose – and if they haven’t made the choices I would have made, they have chosen a really stimulating cross-section of what’s going on here.  So whether you’re in the market for buying something or not, come and see what’s available right here, right now.

Entry to the Open Studios  (11-4pm) and to the Ramsgate Open (10-4pm) at the UpDown Gallery is free.

Squallyschlepper’s Blog #1

The Squall is coming and the pace is hotting up.  In an ideal world, everyone involved would be writing a piece about what they were working on – but they are all way too busy….

There are so many things happening that this blog may be bursting at the seams – but this first entry is just a taster, to let you know what’s happening and how.

People occasionally wonder how the festival gets organised – there are those Ramsgate conspiracy theorists who believe it is all done by Suzy Humphries in exchange for an enormous fee in an offshore bank account – they point to her yacht in the harbour, her champagne-swilling lifestyle and say that Nice Things is just a front for her to launder her illicit millions.  Wrong! Wrong! Wrong! Ah, if only….

Ramsgate Arts is a very freely structured organisation – as a charity we have trustees (to stop any of us running off with the funding) and to ensure we’re doing what we set out to do (i.e. fulfil our charitable aim – which is to bring extra light, life and sunshine to the Isle and as many fun things as funders will allow us).  The actual events are run by the Project Committee – a very flexible group which includes everyone who wants to do anything on the festival.  Anyone who has an idea can join!  Our meetings can range from 2-3 people to 20+, depending on what’s happening.  We are all volunteers – we do it because we enjoy putting on a three-day party in a town we love.

This year we have had an amazing breakthrough: we’ve managed to scrape up enough money to pay for a co-ordinator – so we have 2 job-share  part-time co-ordinators: Cathy Westbrook, who runs PanEK (the Performing Arts Network East Kent) and Anette Mutton (actress/administrator and Marlene Dietrich performer).  It doesn’t mean there’ll be a lot less for us to do, but we should be doing it in a more streamlined way… perhaps the audiences won’t notice the difference – but we certainly will!

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