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Maltings announces BERWICK VISUAL ARTS

Mon 23 Apr

For Immediate Release:
23 APRIL 2012

THE MALTINGS SECURES FUTURE OF VISUAL ARTS IN BERWICK-UPON-TWEED

Newly-approved National Portfolio Organisation announces formation of Berwick Visual Arts

The Maltings (Berwick) Trust is delighted to announce the formation of “Berwick Visual Arts”, a new initiative that brings visual arts in Berwick-upon-Tweed under one banner, including existing arts venues, potential new venue partners, and the wider visual arts community.

Just over a year ago, The Maltings learned that its National Portfolio Organisation application was approved in principle by Arts Council England subject to conclusion of an extensive assessment process. The approval translates into a 316% annual funding increase from £42,000 commencing 2011-12, to £175,000 in 2012-13, and then rising to £184,000 by 2015 for its core programme, education and visual arts -- the fourth highest percentage increase in the country.

More recently on March 27, the plans for the funding increase were approved by Arts Council England, allowing The Maltings to commence a variety of activities including delivery of a new visual arts programme in spaces across the town, including an associated education and outreach programme, and delivery of the Gymnasium Residencies -- the successor to the Berwick Gymnasium Fellowship programme.

The Maltings has concluded negotiations with the respective owners of the Granary Gallery and the Berwick Gymnasium, which secures the future of these two vitally important visual arts venues. In announcing this milestone, CEO & Artistic Director, Matthew Rooke, said, “I am delighted that since we received the Arts Council’s approval, the past 3-1/2 weeks have been incredibly productive: we’ve completed negotiations to take forward the operation of The Granary Gallery from May onwards with the building’s owners, The Berwick Preservation Trust, and with the Board of The Dewars Lane Gallery Operating Company. Likewise, we have just concluded negotiations with English Heritage, the owners of the Berwick Gymnasium, which secures the future use of the building and its associated spaces. We expect that essential works required by English Heritage to prepare the space for use to be concluded by July.

“I am happy to confirm that the future use of both The Granary and the Berwick Gymnasium is assured, and that the Gymnasium Residencies will continue the tradition of major, long-term artist residencies. Further, there are number of exciting initiatives and new relationships that will unfold over the coming months.”

The Maltings’ next priority is to appointment a Head of Visual Arts to assist in the implementation of the Berwick Visual Arts initiative. The post will be advertised over the coming weeks. In the meantime, The Maltings will confirm some initial programming opportunities to ensure access to visual arts in the area continues.

Rooke added, “We are so pleased that just weeks after our three-year National Portfolio Organisation funding was approved by Arts Council England, The Maltings can officially commence with its leadership role in visual arts in Berwick-upon-Tweed. We very much look forward to sharing further news of the progression of Berwick Visual Arts with the public as the weeks unfold.”

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The Maltings is operated by The Maltings (Berwick) Trust Registered Charity No: 701194