Art Gallery Friends to hold AGM

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Rye Art Gallery

The Friends of Rye Art Gallery are to hold their AGM this Sunday, April 2. The meeting will provide an opportunity for members to consider the future for their charity , which has been managed for the past year by a caretaker administration under the guidance of former chairman, Paddy Harvey.

It is expected that he will report on various options that have been explored, including the scope for a closer relationship with the main Rye Art Gallery Trust, a separate charity. The meeting will take place in the St Mary’s Centre, Lion Street at 5pm.

The published purpose of the Friends charity is “the education of the general public which it achieves by promoting, supporting and assisting in the improvement of Rye Art Gallery (RAG) through fundraising support, events and supportive administration” and it has been in existence for over 40 years with its first constitution formally listed in 1972.

It has supported the RAG by acting as an umbrella and resource body and helps with running costs such as a new computer and printer in 2015, and helping with the costs of new gallery space last year.

However it does not feature in the SEARCH facility on the Gallery’s website though there is a reference on one page which says “The Friends of Rye Art Gallery is a separate charity. At their AGM in March 2016 it was not found possible to elect a sufficient number of committee members to be constitutionally quorate and so the retiring committee acted in a “caretaker role” until December 2016. We are awaiting the outcome of any future decisions.”

Rye News reported further developments in February this year which led to various points of view being published as well as further comments including extracts from a lengthy letter from the RAG Trustees Chairman.

In the past former Trustees’ Chairs have addressed the Friends’ AGM and the Trustees Chair will apparently now be at at the AGM this weekend after the date was changed.

A  three page letter dated 8 February from the current Trustees Chairman is displayed at the Gallery’s entrance on top of the map which is supposed to help visitors find their way around the gallery and current exhibitions – and completely covers the existence of the top floor gallery, the only one of the six public rooms to show examples of the Gallery’s permanent collection.

The role of the Art Gallery’s Trust is to support local contemporary art, exhibit the permanent collection, provide young people’s workshops, provide art related education and conserve heritage assets. The Gallery was set up for the furtherance and enjoyment of the visual arts .

According to the Public Catalogue Foundation’s book “Oil paintings in public ownership in East Sussex” the Trust has a permanent collection of some 450 works of which around a quarter are oils. But less than 20 items are on show in the attic Mackechnie Room, of which two were bought and donated by the Friends and some seven others were reframed, framed or mounted by the Friends. The other six rooms in the gallery are devoted to sales, not entirely of local artists.

No mention of education or workshops could be found on the Gallery’s website.

The Rye Society of Artists has an exhibition at the Gallery in rooms 4 and 5 for the next month which will be featured in next week’s Rye News.

Photo: Rye News library

Image Credits: Kenneth Bird .

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