An update from the Herts Visual Arts Chairman Mel Hilbrown.

HVA Chairman’s Report at AGM June 6th 2012

Review of 2011: Highlights were...
  • Great publicity coverage for Open Studios, although the low number of participants at 133 – as anticipated – was financially difficult. Especial thanks to Jenny Timms for fantastic PR work on behalf of Herts Visual Arts.
  • 12” Square exhibition at Hertford Theatre was a major first, where the fixed format meant that most of the exhibits were new work. HVA members rose to this challenge superbly.
  • 10 issues of the newsletter published over the last 12 months. This effort ensures that members’ activities and new opportunities get publicised in a timely way.
  • The website is becoming an ever more important resource for galleries and those seeking artworks. It's increasingly helping HVA members raise their profile, sell work and gain commissions.

Unfortunately the low participation in Open Studios led to a loss of about £6k in 2011, and therefore a reduction in reserves to just over £12k.

We have a strong committee, though more volunteers are needed! Especial thanks are due to Karen Murphy for agreeing to step back into the role of Treasurer.

Preview of 2012

With 167 artists signed up to Open Studios, we expect a more successful year financially – but also in terms of impact as we will be showing a lot more work again. A big thank you to all participating artists. Without this level of commitment the Open Studios brochure would not be possible and ultimately a major Open Studios activity itself.

Many thanks to Linda Warminger for approaching the councils for grants successfully. This is probably the last year for repeat support from council grants of £2.5k. As a result we anticipate that HVA overall will break even in 2012, relieving a lot of the concerns about our future that I raised in my 2010 report.

At the AGM meeting the decision was taken to hold membership fees for 2013, and to raise the participation fee for open studios by £5 to cover increased costs.

Going forward we have 4 clear priorities:

  • To encourage participation in Open Studios and maintain high levels of take-up at approximately 180 artists. This is key to the financial success of HVA and Open Studios, and essential to keep the production of 25,000 quality brochures.
  • Continue to develop the web presence for our artists.
  • Create events which give artists the opportunity to raise their profile and sell, as well as emphasise the quality and prestige of HVA membership.
  • Encourage members to volunteer to keep the group active and representative of its members. We need to ensure that as much as possible of the work that needs to be done is done by volunteers, keeping costs and therefore fees down.

If you would like to get involved more in HVA, whether in a small way or as part of the Organising Group, please contact Linda Warminger.