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Our Foundation Gathering

The ‘Foundation Gathering’ always sounded more like a cheesy Sci-Fi convention than an art event…..The Stove’s ‘Foundation Gathering’ has now  landed on earth complete with dry ice (or was that just folk breathing in the ‘bracing’ conditions) and wobbly flying saucers.

More than 60 folk turned out on Wednesday – drawn by an invitation to come and be part of the future of the arts in the region by shaping the idea of a membership that will be at the heart of the organisations operation and decision -making.

Phil Jones (Business Development Manager) gave a welcome and defined the Stove as a project with potential to be at the vanguard of a new genre of arts provision in Scotland – a social enterprise that aims to means for residents of Dumfries to play an active part in the future of their town.

Phil describes the Stove as ‘Two things: 1) A Building – fully accessible arts resource for general public and creative practitioners….and 2) An Organisation – delivering participative public arts projects and undertaking commissions in the region and nationally.

One of the Stove’s founder members Colin Tennant then gave a brief illustrated presentation of work completed by the group to date and their plans for the future. To date, The Stove has delivered a highly successful programme of public arts events including ‘First Foot’ (part of Big Burns Supper 2012), ‘Punkin’ the Jubilee’ (Guid Nychburris 2012) and the Dumfries Music Conference – which brought industry professionals to the town to explain the contemporary digital music scene to the regions young music entrepreneurs.

In 2013/14 The Stove will refurbish and open premises at 100 High St as a public arts centre, complete a sculpture commission in Creetown and work as one of three local partners delivering the inaugural Environmental Art Festival Scotland.

or the main part of the evening Andrew Lyon of the International Futures Forum led a workshop that started people working in small groups to make sculptures from a pile of recycled materials. Andrew’s organisation works to find creative ways of thinking about the future and he asked groups to build a  sculpture that illustrated ideas and hope they had for what The Stove could do for themselves and the wider community.

An amazing outpouring of creativity ensued and groups then explained to others what their sculpture represented. Andrew Lyon then skilfully gathered all these ideas together into a creative discussion about how The Stove could operate as a democratic organisation with a membership, a board and an ‘curatorial committee’. A general discussion followed and 43 people signed up as the initial membership of The Stove.

Membership is open to everyone and is free – if you would like to be a part of the innovative experiment in building a collaborative creative organisation for Dumfries and Galloway then please send an email to [email protected] and you’ll be sent a membership form.

The first Stove AGM is set for mid May 2013 where the membership will be invited to elect a board to run the organisation on their behalf.

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