Oliver Laurenson-Gore, Business Manager at Resource Productions, writes about Slough Arts Forum's ground-breaking arts and business event in September 2016, supported by Arts Fundraising & Philanthropy.
Developing artists to grow the local economy in Slough is something Resource Productions believe in!
We were awarded some support from Arts Fundraising & Philanthropy to grow the Slough Arts Forum. This is a group of local professional and amateur artists from the Slough, Berkshire, South Buckingamshire and West London area. The Forum has been running on a voluntary basis since 2002, and now attracts between 30 to 40 regular attendees to events.
We wanted to bridge the gap between artists and businesses in Slough, as it has one of the largest business trading estates in Europe. Local businesses weren’t aware that our Forum existed and didn’t appreciate the burgeoning local arts scene. So, we invited local businesses to a Showcase where five small commissioned projects were shared, which gave an opportunity for local artists to demonstrate to businesses how they could benefit from getting involved.
We held the Creative Collective Showcase on Wednesday 14th September 2016 at The Venue, The Curve in Slough. Hosting this event in a brand new cultural centre that had only opened at the beginning of September helped to bring in new people and show the exciting potential in the locale.
The event showcased local artists to a fantastic group of representatives from businesses, community groups, arts companies and Arts Council England staff. A total of 223 people registed and attended the event (which is much higher than the usual 30 people we attract to regular Forum events). This represents a huge increase in awareness and attendance for the Forum. We had a number of important outcomes from the event:
- The artists who participated in the Showcase grew in confidence and experience, and took the opportunity to talk with as many new people as they could
- We have now secured funding to allow the Forum to continue running events on a bi-monthly basis at the Curve, which will really help to raise the profile of arts organisations in the area
- We’ve raised the profile of local artists with the local Chamber of Commerce, and are now regularly reporting to them about arts and culture
- We’ve connected with new organisations on the Slough Trading Estate through securing additional funding for a pilot Artist in Residence programme
- We’ve secured representatives from Modern Art Oxford to speak at our next Forum event in November 2016
We simply wouldn’t have been able to organise such a large event without Arts Fundraising & Philanthropy’s support. Thank you!
For more information about Slough Arts Forum, go to: www.resource-productions.co.uk/the-resources.