Rye Art Gallery held the second of two consultation meetings on Sunday January 28 when a dozen people came to Gallery 6, where the audience and panel were surrounded by the wonderful artist David Crew’s retrospective exhibition, an example of the importance of the gallery to Rye itself and further afield.
The attendees were welcomed by the new Chairman of the Rye Art Gallery Trustees, Trevor Llanwarne, who was supported by Dr Fanny Baldwin, a trustee; Jane Fenn, the gallery director; and Matt Hardman, the local artist, (pictured). Each attendee was handed a new gallery programme and three written questions.
Mr Llanwarne explained that, in 2012, the trust was changed to increase trustee numbers from five to seven, in view of the increasing workload. Additionally, there was a change to the nominated trustee, as for many years before this date, the Friends of Rye Art Gallery (FRAG) had nominated a “subscriber trustee”. As the trust did not actually have this category of member in 2012, the nomination process was amended to show this trustee was elected by FRAG members. FRAG was dissolved recently so there is no nominated trustee now and no means of finding one.
It was explained that there was a need to introduce such a trustee, voted for by interested people and local “subscribers”.
It was also pointed out that two trustees reach the end of their term and will be standing down in the autumn, and the curator has also stood down as a trustee, though maintaining the curating role. Therefore, three new trustees will be required after September, for which there will be a formal application process. It is hoped to appoint the subscriber member before this, but the changes will have to go through the Charity Commissioners.
The document handed to all participants posed three questions, one on the proposed change back to subscribers and keeping the number of trustees to seven, one on fees, asking if the level proposed was acceptable, including a special arrangement for FRAG life members and the third laying out the benefits to subscribers of such a change. This question also asked for any other ideas of benefits that might be made available.
By filling this in and returning it to the Gallery or to Mr Llanwarne, the audience was told that this would enable such a change to the trustees to be made, through the deletion of the 2012 deed and replacement with a new one.
The three questions made up the formal consultation, but a further paragraph had been added for this meeting, following comments received at the first one, to see if local residents were interested in volunteering, trying to gauge the level of interest and where people would like to help, without commitment at the moment.
There followed a discussion that covered the organisation and planning of the year’s programme, and the email and other lists that are used to send out invitations.
Questions about the FRAG email data led to an explanation of the data protection laws, which meant that every individual on this list would have to be asked for written permission before their personal information, email, home address and so on could be released.
Discussion of the benefits that might be available to members followed, categories of membership that could be available and voting rights. All this was recorded and will be part of the consultation process. Suggestion of the need for an artist trustee were made, but it was pointed out that this had to be a matter of personal choice.
A further, larger review will follow in 2019, leading to the development of a strategy for the gallery. As there is now a new format to the gallery brochure, everyone was encouraged to check the website, ryeartgallery.co.uk and see the new events open to all there and in the printed programme.
Photo: Kenneth Bird