I've just seen hot off the press the programme for this year's Whitley Art's Festival. Very exciting and something that puts Whitley and Reading on the national map for art. Really looking forward to the choral work that's this year's major commission (they've just started following me on twitter but I'm not just sucking up, honest!) and to the 'Whitley Arts Trail'.
I've also been asked by my excellent fellow councillor Sarah Hacker to advertise the resurrected Art's forum. Those involved in the Art scene in Reading will know that the Arts forum (along with quite a number of other consultative groups) was unceremoniously dumped during the, breif, tenure of the Conservative-led administration. Well not wanting to go back to the same old stuff for the sake of it Sarah and Marian Livingstone have been meeting with the arts community and the message we got loud and clear was 'we want to talk'. So the art's forum is being relaunched but with an increased emphasis that it is lead by the artistic community with the council very much as a facilitator:
'The Arts Forum was resurrected this year by the current Labour administration. There was a very positive and productive first meeting on 13 September. It was decided the forum will have a relaxed agenda going forward with talks, meetings held in various venues and a chance to share events and information within the arts community of Reading. The style of the forum was decided by those attending from the arts community. The Arts Forum was, and is, valued by the arts and those present were pleased to see it restarted.
Please get in touch if you would like to be put on the mailing list or if you would like to attend the next forum, pencilled in for January.
Finally as has been reported in the local press as part of Tesco's plans for a distribution centre they have agreed to put £75,000 towards art 'in the vicinity' of their distribution centre. Those who know more about planning than me tell me this means in the ward of Whitley. I'm really hopeful that we can get something really good for the Whitley community that comes from ideas and work that local residents want not something that is imposed, so I'll be working hard behind the scenes to ensure that happens. Maybe it will even be able to be linked to the Whitley Art's Festival in some way, who knows.