Arts Society Grantham seeks ‘more community involvement’
In our second Behind the Scenes feature, we talk to Glenda Rousseau, publicity officer for The Arts Society Grantham.
The Arts Society Grantham was first established in 2000, after a group of “enthusiasts” heard of the Art Society through its headquarters.
The first Arts Society was officially established in 1967.
Glenda, who joined the society in 2012 as membership secretary, said: “The idea is you have a local society, like a local branch working on local projects with schools and other people and organisations.
“It was quite successful.”
Through its membership, individuals get to attend 10 lectures over a period of months, covering a range of subjects including paintings, crafts, architecture and much more.
However, like any cultural or artistic group, Covid was a worrying time for groups.
Since the Covid-19 pandemic, a “lot of work has needed to be done”, added Glenda.
A publicity offer was brought in to try and advertise the society to more people.
During the time Glenda has been in the society, they have done a “lot of interesting things and interesting projects.”
She added: “For example, we took a lot of children from Isaac Newton Primary School up to Lincoln in the year of the Magna Carta.
“We went to Lincoln Castle and had a tour to look at the Magna Carta.”
Through its work with schools, Glenda said it is “all about introducing younger people to the art and its depth.”
The Arts Society Grantham has also provided financial support to the restoration of Isaac Newton’s Apple in Wyndham Park’s sensory garden.
Glenda added: “It’s [the sculpture] is one of the few things I’m happy to use the word iconic.”
To be a member of the Arts Society, it costs £40 for the year, which includes 10 lectures and also trips.
When it decides what lectures it will hold, it is “much more broader” than it used to be.
Glenda said: “We’ve got some older stuff like Frescoes of Florence, but then we’ve also got Banksy and more modern ones.
“There is also the historical aspect to them as well.
“Just learning a bit more about something in art is interesting.”
The difficulty for the society is finding volunteers to join its committee, as it is currently looking for new members on it.
Glenda said: “I’d like a lot more community involvement.
“If we were able to do more heritage based projects, we would be able to get more money for the society.”
Glenda believes that art is a “fundamental need”, but feels it is something “lacking in a culture of community”.
She added: “The things that people can do together and create together is the most rewarding thing you can think of.”
For Grantham’s cultural scene, Glenda believes there are “quite a few organisations working hard” but there is a “lack of volunteers” for the organisations to help promote the scene.
Glenda said: “I think Grantham culture could potentially be a terrific place.
“It’s got so much potential. It’s a good location as well, so it’s quite sad because some opportunities are being missed.”
As part of South Kesteven District Council’s cultural strategy, they hope to work more with community organisations to increase participation and inclusion in Grantham’s arts and culture scene.
Glenda hopes the society will be able to reach out to more people across Grantham to increase its membership.
Glenda added: “I don’t think that we notice that there’s a lot more young professional people who have moved to Grantham and I hope that they will be attracted to the society.
“They’ve got plenty of energy. I’ve only got a few years left of that sort of energy.
“They [younger people] are the ones who can carry that energy on for the society.”
To find out more about the Arts Society Grantham, go to https://theartssociety.org/grantham.
Anyone who would like to get involved can contact the society by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.