Creative Conversations No5: artwey

15 Feb

On this show I talk to Olivia Nurrish, one of the founding members of artwey, who are an artist led group from Weymouth & Portland. Starting in 2008, becoming a CIC, A Community Interest Company, in 2009. I was interested in why they had chosen to become a CIC rather than just be a constituted group. That this entailed extra work, specifically greater records and audited accounts, which also means the group needed extra income to fund these additional jobs. They had been greatly guided by Alan Rogers, who was Weymouth & Portland arts officer at the time. They have since discussed if it was a good idea on becoming a CIC. But looking back, though yes it is an extra burden, Olivia feels like it was a good idea to have become a CIC so early. That it helped them secure some funding, and helped them formalise the group structure, its aims and objectives. Artwey are now just about to revisit their constitution and their ethos.

I see artwey as a very active arts group in the borough. In a town that is not known for its cultural bent. Weymouth & Portland has no public art spaces, only some spaces in a few galleries. There isn’t really any support from the council in anyway. Artwey have done around twelve shows this year. Their logo their name is really out there and people become more and more aware of them. They have built a very good relationship with the local press.

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About the show

We talk about the structure of artwey and if people take on a particular role. They tried this in the early days, now its more a sporadic nature. This year the will try and compartmentalise jobs more, with one person taking on the PR job. The drive is on to get more people involved and allow the few people who have been most active with the group to take a step back, give them time to get back to their work. Olivia feels it is really important to continually get artweys name out there, so that when they run a show more people are aware of it and will than come to see the work.

I was surprised that artwey had received funding right from an early stage as I’d seen them very much as a artist collective. One where all the money came from its members and the work it sells at its shows.

For their contribution to Cultural Olympiad they decided to do a community focused project, ‘the Giant Wall’. Which incidentally was launched at Weymouth Library during a show put together by Susan Hughes who I had interviewed at the library while this show as up and you can hear this show here: Creative Conversations 7 with local artist, Susan Hughes (published 28 Nov, 2011).  Susan is featured in next weeks creative conversation show, talking about what she has got up to since we last met.

We discuss the benefits and drawbacks of being part of the Cultural Olympiad. One drawback was that it tied them up financially, as they could not get any new funders as the Olympics was very tied up with its commercial supporters. In the end artwey didn’t use the inspire mark, as people didn’t know what it was anyway and artwey couldn’t see the benefit. They simply couldn’t do the project and deal with all the admin, all the form filling. Bit it helped them when they approached schools and community groups, it gave them a seal of approval right at the start. It was also a benefit being in the Maritime Mix brochure, being included with all the other Cultural Olympiad projects.

We than discus the PR that did or did not happen as part of Maritime Mix. They were offered posters and badges, but had to pay for these, so they didn’t get any of these. But overall they felt very proud to have been involved and been part of the whole cultural Olympiad.

We talk about their inspire Mark project and how they are finally in the finishing stage, with members busy stitching together all the portraits that have been handed in. They have also been busy photographing every portrait along with the writing that describes whom their portraits are of and why they have done it on this person. This will be collated in a couple of souvenir books.

We go on to talk about the role of art in the culture, with more and more resources and subsidises being cut. Where ate arts should be seen as essential, but the local council don’t have the vision or courage to be doing this.

This takes us into advice to artists to be sustainable as a business. And promotion here is key; doing PR, make the work accessible, for instance how artwey sell a lot of cards and how this can lead to people coming back to you with commissions and future work. A different route is looking for public funding to help support your work.

Though artwey members tend to be mainly artists who wish to show and sell their work, which tends to be mainly painting. There are some who are just interested in the possibility of just showing their work in a gallery type white room setting. Maybe moving outside the borough and look at nearby towns like Bridport. They are looking for new members and new ideas, of taking the organisation forward, for it to develop. To work with their traditional audience and the artists who are happy with how it is at the moment, but look at how it can grow. Artwey can really help artists get the confidence to show their work, to look at exhibiting, of how to hang your work and ways to sell your work. If you are interested in joining then the best point of contact is their website


5 Responses to “Creative Conversations No5: artwey”

  1. Mark Stanley February 21, 2013 at 12:29 am #

    Great interview Joe – completely sympathise with Olivia’s experience of dealing with LOCOG and inspire mark. Inspire was a really good idea at the outset, crushed under the massive weight of paperwork and made unreachable by an impenetrable tangle of rules.

    • 51joe February 21, 2013 at 4:25 pm #

      Thanks Mark; at the time I could never really understand why people went for the inspire mark. I suppose as Olivia says it helped them a little at the start & made them feel like they were a part of something bigger.


  1. Creative Conversations No5: artwey - JOE Stevens news - February 25, 2013

    […] You can hear the show here: […]

  2. Overview of Series 2 of Creative Conversation | creative conversations - June 26, 2013

    […] episode 5 I talk to Olivia Nurrish, one of the founding members of artwey, on their involvement with the Cultural Olympiad. […]

  3. Series 2 ratings | creative conversations - July 3, 2013

    […] Next we have Creative Conversations No5 with artwey. […]

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