Dear Sophie and Sarah
What am I doing? A question I ask myself every day. I suppose IÕm trying to do something new. New to me that is. A new way of working.
I work in an arts centre that has a well proportioned and relatively pleasant gallery. But IÕm trying not to put exhibitions into it. I donÕt want it to be a gallery. I want it to be an expanded studio, a project space, a place where ideas are actively exchanged and where nothing ever appears without having a very good reason for being there.
In some ways I think a gallery is pretty pointless in a place like this. Or maybe not pointless, maybe it just doesnÕt have to operate along the traditional model of six shows a year each lasting six weeks. And maybe that is the whole point. Liberation! In fact Wysing has never really operated along any prescribed model and probably that is the reason why I came here in the first place, just over nine months ago.
So, what all of us at Wysing are trying to do together is to approach art in a different way, one that isnÕt reliant on the gallery. Of course this is nothing new and I am no visionary. It is simply new to me, having previously worked for ten years within two well know gallery focussed institutions.
So, the gallery here at Wysing can be anything, anything artistic that is: a rehearsal space, a cinema, an expanded studio, a centre for debate, a site for performance, a nightclub (maybe). But Wysing isnÕt simply about the gallery, itÕs about the artists who come here every day to make their work in their studios, the artists on funded residency programmes, the childrenÕs workshops and classes for adults, the Artist Gardeners (adults with learning difficulties who come to Wysing every day).
What I would like to do is evolve Wysing into a ŌlaboratoryÕ for the production and understanding of art. A hackneyed term I know, but one that sums it up. I want Wysing, set as it is on 11 acres of land eight miles up a B-road in the middle of south Cambridgeshire, to be a place where artists and audiences are supported to take risks, to dig a bit deeper into their own creativity and to have a bit of unexpected enjoyment while they are doing it. And hopefully to see that art and creativity isnÕt something that happens out of site and in seclusion but is relevant and utterly reliant on human contact, context and the universal themes of life.
With all best wishes
Director, Wysing Arts Centre