Did you enjoy the SAW Festival this year? I truly hope so, there was just so much crammed into those all too short but incredibly art intensive weeks. Some of you may now feel that you are missing the connection that you made with the Somerset art scene and are keen to reconnect with what's going on in the here and now. Many of you will no doubt have signed artists' visitor books requesting to keep in touch with your favourite venues. Another great way to keep in touch is by becoming a patron of the arts, particularly the Somerset arts, by becoming a Friend of SAW.
We are all aware that funding for the arts is forever dwindling but also aware of how important the arts play in our sense of well being and mental health. The staggering array and rich diversity of art exhibited at Taunton's Musgrove Park hospital is testament to this understanding.
By becoming a Friend of SAW your yearly membership fee will go towards training for emerging artists, as well as sponsoring projects and works of art. Your help can nurture excellence from within the visual arts of Somerset and really make a difference. It can be very difficult for graduating artists to continue working within the arts once they have left the support network of an educational environment. They are suddenly isolated, may have student debts to pay and loose the workshops they previously had access to - making any first commissions they may receive sometimes impossible to fulfill.
All the artists involved in this year's Abundance Garden Trail were recent graduates that SAW was able to nurture, encourage and most importantly fund. They certainly presented some truly inspiring and professional installations which will now lend credence to their own personal future projects. SAW has helped provide a strong foundation on which they may now hopefully build firm careers in the art world. Who knows in ten, twenty years time one of the Abundance artists may be delivering the Reith Lectures...
As a friend of SAW you will receive regular newsletters and invitations to private views; keeping you connected with the Somerset art scene throughout the year. Earlier this month members were able to join the Firewalk at Westcott Farm which despite the awful weather the organisers managed to capture some amazing images. A second Firewalk is planned for next Spring when hopefully the weather will be kinder and once again Friends of SAW will be able to attend.
Each year you will also be invited to the Festival's prestigious launch party and of course you will receive a copy of the Somerset Art Weeks Guide hot off the press.
Friends are also entered into a quarterly Prize Draw to win an original artwork by one of our SAW artist members. Recent winners were invited to Aller Farm Gardens to not only join in the celebrations to mark Leah Hislop completing her Labyrinth but also to be presented with their stunning prize generously donated by printmaker Sue Lowe.
So how much does it cost to be a patron of the Somerset arts?
Individual membership is as little as £25 for a year or £60 if you sign up for three years. Joint membership (two adults living at the same address) is available at £35 per year or £85 for three years. If you are already a SAW Member but feel you would also like to support the friends scheme then the fee is £20 a year or £50. Perhaps you belong to a group or organisation that supports the arts, then the cost is £40 per year or £100 for the three.
So what are you waiting for? Becoming a Friend is easy..
Just download and complete the application form from the SAW website here
or e mail Stephanie at the SAW office firstname.lastname@example.org