Chairman's Report

Sarah Cavanagh writes:

I am delighted to be able to report on another really good year for our society. We have embraced the rebranding that was launched by NADFAS head office and after a vote at the Extraordinary General Meeting called in July we embarked upon life as The Arts Society West Sussex. As you will see in the coming months we have made the majority of changes necessary to showcase our new name. The Calendar which you have received today with your rejoining papers is in our new look. 

This year has seen a varied selection of lectures kicked off in February by Ian Swankie talking to us about Grayson Perry. Today we learn about Rodin from Eveline Eaton. I am sure once you cast your eye over next years calendar you’ll agree that Elaine, our programme secretary is doing a fabulous job. Last month we were treated to an engaging Special Interest Day on Jim Thompson and Thai silk followed by a delicious Thai lunch. Next month we have our usual monthly lecture with mince pies and mulled wine and also a sociable Christmas Lunch with entertainment from the incredibly popular Bertie Pearce. As well as all this we enjoyed five visits this year. All very ably organised by Patrick Higham with help from various trip leaders. 

Enormous thanks go to all the committee and all the other members who have given of their time to make all that we do possible. 

Alongside all of this are the huge number of Young Arts projects organised by Susi Beale and her team. Last years Christmas Raffle went towards co-sponsoring a performance of The Emperors New Clothes as part of the Petworth Festival. 

Some of us visited Malta last month as part of a larger tour with Riviera Travel. Next year we are going to be visiting Liverpool with the Terracotta Warrior Exhibition just one of the highlights. Look out for booking information next month. 

Sadly we lost some members this year. Amongst them was David Hubert, a stalwart supporter of our society. He served on the committee for several years and as Chairman. He will be much missed. 

On a lighter note it is with great pleasure that I come to thank all those of you that have helped in whatever way. It is only thanks to the time given by you the members, whether on the committee, baking a cake, manning the reception desk, creating a flower arrangement or stuffing an envelope that we have this vibrant society. If you think you may have a spare moment to help, or a skill that could be useful please do take a moment to fill out the volunteering form in your envelopes. We particularly need anyone with computer skills and also a few more people to help the sound and lighting team. 

We don’t have a huge number of changes within the committee this year. Chris Buckler is standing as Joint Chairman with myself but still continuing his role as Treasurer. Christine Parker is continuing as Vice Chair alongside advertising our society near and far and representing Young Arts on the committee. Elaine Hunt continues as Programme Secretary aided by Debbie Wright. Sue Higham continues as Honorary Secretary, Patrick Higham as Visits Secretary, Jackie Buckler as Membership Secretary. We also have Madeline Southall and Rosalie Parker both of whom are proving invaluable committee members. 

We hope to welcome Stephanie Fane onto the committee shortly! 

Sadly both Susi and Richard Beale have been plagued with ill health this year, but, despite this they have both gone above and beyond for the society. Susi continues to mastermind a phenomenal Young Arts programme not only for our society but as Area Co-ordinator for the Sussex Area. Richard continues to produce some stunning artwork for our flyers and advertising and is continually keeping the website up to date as well as getting the monthly email newsletter to members. We wish them both well and extend our gratitude for all that they do. 

Kate Holman is stepping down from the committee this year. She and Roy are in the process of moving almost full time to Portugal – I hope that wasn’t the only way you felt you could leave the committee Kate! Thank you so much for all your considerable hard work on behalf of our society over the past ten years. 

You will be hearing from Gillian Wilson our President shortly, but I would like to say a huge thank you for all that you do. 

I also would like to thank Chris Fagan for auditing our accounts once again. 

Next year 2018 is the Golden Anniversary of the founding of NADFAS and there are many exciting events being planned by head office. Please keep an eye on you quarterly magazine for details. Our own Golden Anniversary is in 2019 and Beth Dugan has already started planning! 

I look forward to seeing you all at the events, lectures and outings in the coming year. 

Young Arts Report

Susi Beale writes:

It has been quite a year of excitement and achievement.

It began with the successful selection by the RBA of 2 paintings from Farlington School which were exhibited in The Mall Galleries in March. The private view was prestigious and saw a crush of people in the gallery with Andre Marr opening the exhibition. The event was overwhelming, especially for Emma and Georgie. For the RBA this year we have submitted 6 works of art from Christ’s hospital and 6 from Farlington. All demonstrate outstanding talent and technique.

The Weald Workshop
With proceeds from the printing of the selected paintings from the RBA we were able to subsidise the workshop at The Weald School. This event, for 20 A-Level students and their 4 teachers, together with 3 of our Society Members, took place in July at The Weald School in Billingshurst. West Sussex DFAS supported the event by engaging an artist, Kate Sollohub, for the 2 day event and by providing all materials: paints, brushes, paper, charcoal, chalks, etc. Not only were we able to subsidise the event with funds raised from the sale of the cards but we were also fortunate to acquire funding from The Patricia Fay memorial Fund. Currently there is an exhibition of some of this work in the Billingshurst Conference Centre. We also benefited from 2 articles in the Village Tweet which is delivered free to over 4,000 households in Billingshurst.

West Dean
The student we have sponsored in our Area for the past 2 years, Kate Aughey, graduated on her diploma course in Restoration of Furniture at West Dean with Honours. She was the only student on her course to do so. The student we are currently supporting is Cecilia Duminico. Her subject is Bookbinding and Related materials. Her tutors speak very highly of her.

Petworth Festival
Our involvement in the Petworth Festival was a great success and a wonderful way to raise our profile in the community. The event we sponsored was the performance for children of Roald Dahl’s “George’s Marvellous Medicine” which was performed on a glorious summer’s afternoon in Bignor Park to a delighted capacity audience of 500 children and their families. It provided us with an opportunity to distribute flyers; and have space in parish magazines as well as a stand at the event. We were able to sponsor the event through monies raised in the raffle at the Christmas Supper.

The work of Young Arts is integral to NADFAS and its education and conservation policy. This year, as a society, we have been able to invest £1,350 in Young Arts in a way which has created opportunities and experiences for a wide range of young people, which may stand to inspire and enrich their learning and creativity throughout their lives. Our vision is one of equality of opportunity for all to learn through participation in the arts which I believe we are working to achieve. I should like to thank all of you who have supported us over the past year and especially my working party, Beth, Ann, Susie and Christine.

If you are interested in joining us on our working party please let us know!

Treasurer’s Report

Elaine Hunt writes:

At the end of my first year as your Honorary Treasurer I am pleased to be able to give you a brief report on our society’s finances for the year to 30th September 2014, in which we made a surplus of a little over £882 (compared to last year’s £282).

It has been yet another incredibly busy year for us. On top of our regular lectures we have enjoyed last Christmas’ Supper Evening, our Ploughman’s Lunch and New Members’ Party, along with trips to the Mary Rose in Portsmouth, Highgrove Gardens, St Mary’s House, Mottisfont Abbey and Eltham Palace and the Ranger’s House. There was also another very successful Society Holiday to Shropshire and the Welsh Borders!

We hope that our generous programme of events was able to keep you busy!
The society’s expenditure this year has needed to be lightly controlled and (we hope!) well directed.

Our charitable outgoings have been acutely focused on the Young Arts. We used proceeds from last Christmas’ raffle, as well as the profit we managed to make on the sale of our specially produced greeting cards, to sponsor the children’s production of George’s Marvellous Medicine at the Petworth Festival AND to run a 2-day Art Workshop at the Weald School, for their A- Level Art students and staff.

This year we have also invested quite significantly in improvements to our IT systems including an upgrade to our website and the establishment of an in-house membership database. And we hope you have also benefited directly from our ongoing investment in our audiovisual set-up here in the hall. We had been dogged by problems particularly with the sound in here, and have made concerted efforts to sort these out and ensure that our lecture programme can be delivered as successfully as possible.

These costs were significant, and so they have been shown as separate items in the accounts this year, so that you can clearly see the extent of that investment.

Our income, aside from that which is specific to our various events and trips, comes from your membership subscriptions. You all know that for 2015 our subscription charge has been maintained at £40 for the year. Beth Dugan, our wonderful Membership Secretary, has managed yet again to get us to the 200+ members mark. This is an incredible achievement, I’m sure you all agree, and is attributable firstly to Beth’s energy and determination, but also to the fabulous lecture programme put together by our very clever Programme Secretary, Kate Holman. A part of our membership income (£12 per member, in fact) has to be paid over to NADFAS Head office. This is called a Capitation Fee and secures our society’s affiliation with NADFAS. The remainder of our membership income has to go towards the cost of our lecturers, hall hire, refreshments and the society’s printing and stationery costs, which help us to let you know which lecture to expect each month!

It is incredibly important that you all realise that when all of these costs are taken into account we actually generate a financial DEFICIT from what we could describe as our core activities alone.

What allows our society to not only survive, but to improve and thrive, is the accumulation of small surpluses we make on all of the additional activities we generate and get involved in – these are described in the accounts as our ‘Self Financing Activities’.

As an affiliate of a Charitable Association, NADFAS, we are obliged (and, naturally, we WISH!) to participate in charitable activities, which of course cost us money. This, and things like our aforementioned investments in IT and our sound system etc. would not be possible without this additional, non-subscription, income.

Last year our Christmas Supper, Ploughman’s Lunch and the holiday to Shropshire and the Welsh Borders were the primary sources of this additional income. The small surpluses these events create are so important to our finances, and we thank you, all of you, for not just participating in the events that your Committee organises for you, but for doing so with such enthusiasm.
The same goes for your involvement in the many outings and trips that are organised.

Put together, financially, they are all essential for the wellbeing of our society. On that note I have one thing to ask. If ever you are considering signing up for a trip or buying a ticket to a supper or lunch, but you aren’t quite sure whether you should or shouldn’t, please DO! Not only will you have a fantastic time, but also you will be actively supporting the future health and vitality of your society.