Words: Claire Wyburn
Pics: Danika Westwood
Bournemouth Creatives isn’t just about networking with fellow artists in the community – it’s now a self-sustaining group which can support new projects with hard cash. Held on the third Wednesday of every month at the Winchester pub, Poole Hill, July’s meeting saw three artists compete for a £100 towards their new ventures.
Johanna Lawrence, Trish Jubb and Laura Cousins took to the stage, where they told members of Bournemouth Creatives what they would do with some extra funds. Then it was up to the audience to vote for the winner – X-factor style – and with the gregarious Peter John Cooper reciting poetry before introducing each act, it was just as entertaining.
|Trish Jubb, Johanna Lawrence & Laura Cousins|
First behind the microphone was artist Johanna Lawrence. She recently set up The Real Art Academy, based at Roumelia Lane in Boscombe, with Martin Close. ‘We met at April’s Bournemouth Creatives, thus proving that social networking does work,’ she explained. ‘There is a lot of missing knowledge amongst artists, even teachers. And we hope The Real Art Academy will fill in that gap. We will teach the skills of the old masters to a new generation.’
She continued: ‘At the time, Martin was teaching in his front room, but the premises weren’t suitable. I suggested our current location. However, it’s difficult to find us if you don’t know exactly where we are. We’re opposite the back of Iceland, where there is no pavement for us to put up a sign. Local pub Chaplins have offered the use of their wall. The Bournemouth Creatives Award would go towards designing a professional and eye-catching sign.’
Life-drawing tutor Trish Jubb was up next. ‘I’m addicted to it,’ she explained. ‘I get ratty if I can’t draw every day. In fact, I’m so restless my husband is often tempted to throw me out of the house!’
Trish started her life-drawing classes in Moordown, but currently has no premises. She wants to introduce one-off drop-in classes for potential artists. ‘Most people don’t want to sign up for a three-month term because they have busy lives and can’t make that sort of commitment. My classes aren’t about sending people out with one finished piece. Instead, you learn a little bit more each lesson. Beginners will learn to see proportion and I help more advanced artists to look at their work in a different way.’
Continued Trish: ‘Life drawing classes are expensive, because I need to pay the model, as well as rent. But £100 would buy me several classes. I could concentrate on teaching the skills without having to worry about numbers.’
Last on stage was Laura Cousins, the woman behind Bournemouth Creative Breaks. She hopes the town will soon rival Brighton as a centre for the arts. ‘I’m tired of Bournemouth being seen as the place to go to die, or get incredibly drunk for a weekend,’ she said. ‘In fact, Dorset is a hotbed of creativity. My weekend breaks at the Arlington Hotel will focus on this. People arrive on the Friday night, eat great food, chill out and get to know each other. By Saturday, they will be in the mood to investigate their artistic side. They can choose from a variety of workshops hosted by local artists, including music, creative writing, life-drawing and painting. The artist within us all likes to be playful, so these sessions will be fun, rather than serious. I’ve even included a workshop on sandcastle-making.’
Continued Laura: ‘I desperately need money to spend on Facebook and Twitter advertising, where I can effectively market my concept to the right people. So please, vote for me!’
BC Director Elanor McBay handed round bits of paper so everyone could vote for their favourite artist in secret. Meanwhile acoustic/folk singer Krista Green, winner of Bournemouth Unplugged 2011, played soft melodies which helped soothed the audience through their excruciating decision-making process (and it was tough to choose between three such worthy projects!). Even though the 26-year-old was ill, she still turned up and sounded superb – a testament to the tenacity of local creatives. She left everyone wanting a slice of her ‘Cherry Pie’ and wishing they could ‘Move Along In My Own Time’, as Peter and Elanor announced voting time was up.
The Winchester fell silent with anticipation. All eyes were on Elanor as she climbed on stage. ‘There is a clear winner,’ she announced. ‘I also want to say that there are no losers – the other two artists both came in at second place. I won’t keep you all waiting any longer,’ she paused. ‘Laura Cousins, come and collect your award.’
Everyone in the pub applauded enthusiastically – for although it was a difficult choice, most people agreed that Laura’s project would be beneficial for Bournemouth as a whole. If successful, Laura’s Creative Breaks will change the national image of Bournemouth and local artists of all kinds can get involved. For more information contact Laura Cousins at her Bournemouth Creative Breaks facebook page. Her first holiday is scheduled for 30 September.
Added Elanor: ‘Bournemouth Creatives plan to have more mini-awards like this in the future. So if you have a project which needs support, keep checking our facebook group and website for details.’