Brilliant to see about 40 intrepid Stove folk braving the dark winter evening to come to the Stove Members Gathering/Catch up/Planning; Thing Meeting last Tuesday night.
Old friends and new friends came and it was particularly good to see people who had helped with Back2Back and taken part in the Nithraid. The Stove is all about reaching out and working beyond the arts….in fact there was chat about whether what we are doing is really ‘art’ anyway- and does that matter.
One of the ideas that seemed to catch peoples interest and agreement was that the Stove should be about inspiring people to take charge of their own immediate environment. Too often people think that they are ‘not allowed’ to do things – we hope that our events have an ethos of ‘just do it’ about them and that others will be inspired to follow suit. We believe that people working form the grassroots with independent and locally relevant initiatives is the way that Dumfries with prosper in the future. (Sermon over!)
Linda followed on with a slide show of images for the Nithraid and it was great that other people brought their own pictures to share too – even if the one of Will and Matt hugging in pink T Shirts might not see the light of day again anytime soon! More pictures from Nithraid – here
Nithraid really seems to have caught people’s imagination – there was a really strong contingent of folk who had taken part and in the race and a collective determination to do it again next year. Mark Zygadlo is leading on this for The Stove and currently working very hard to raise the necessary money for next years event.
Lots of people ask ‘how do I get involved with The Stove?’ – the Nithraid is a great example: The Curatorial Team raised some money to do a Stove project as part of the Environmental Art Festival…..we had a first think about what might be possible and relevant to both our larger programme and that of the Festival. We then put out an invite to Stove Members which said ‘Stove is going to do something for EAFS – it will be connected to the River Nith in some way…if you are interested to be part of this then come along on this day and we’ll all brainstorm ideas together’. About 10 people came to that original meeting…the idea of Nithraid was born and Mark Zygadlo and Stan Bonnar became part of the project team that made the Nithraid happen.
Along the way other folk were pulled in by word-of-mouth and adverts etc eg Roy Kerr from Nith Navigation and all the folk who took part in the race. Then closer to the date we put out another call for people to be part of the crew for the day and we were thrilled that about 12 people came and were part of making the whole thing happen on the day (from being part of the scratch band, to catering, to stewarding, to releasing the banners into the water, to helping get the boats out of the water).
Matt then showed some slides from the Environmental Art Festival Scotland – The Stove was part of the team (with Spring Fling and Wide-Open) that thought up and produced the festival. One of the great things about EAFS was the way it provided opportunities for so many people in D+G to take part and the way different people worked together – just about everyone in the room had been part of EAFS in some way – great feeling!!
Colin talked introduced Dumfries Music Conference with a video from last years event and a run down of this years programme that was starting the day after this Gathering.
Matt then rounded off the presentations with a quick run through of The Stoves 3 year programming plan. In synopsis this breaks down into:
2014 – intensive focus on Dumfries with TheStove@TheStove (including residency opportunities for Stove members)
2015 – First part of year finishing TheStove@TheStove before focussing on the second Environmental Art Festival Scotland for September/October that year
2016 – Year of Architecture in Scotland….The Stove hopes to be a main partner in the festival in SouthWest Scotland and pick up themes form work in Dumfries and across the region through EAFS……imagining a sustainable future for D+G.
Another big push for The Stove recently has been in the way we are using different media in our work. Katie Anderson is now building on the great foundation made by Mike Nicholson on Social Media for The Stove. Our Facebook page has never been busier and Katie has become surgically attached to her IPad it seems.
And if you’re not yet a member and fancy being part of The Stove mission to change the world then send an email to [email protected] and Sheila will send you a membership form. Membership is free and gives you no obligations whatsoever….you’ll just get emails and updates from The Stove and the offer of being involved in projects, commission opportunities and members rates on room hires etc.