Within one month of starting work to keep The Art Yard open to display artists' work MFAA volunteers have completed refurbishments of the galleries and studio spaces, and re-opened the venue to the public with its first art exhibition starting on Monday, September 4th, 2017.
Treasurer, Warren McCabe-Smith said, "New sponsors have come on board to help support the patronage began by Cradley Heath Film and they are helping to provide the vital funds that will enable MFAA to keep The Art Yard open so that artists can exhibit their work. It's been a bit of a roller-coaster ride completing the gallery alterations and improving the studio space within such a short time, but the transformation is a complete success with both the artists and public commenting how much they approve of the changes we've made."
New member and professional artist Martyn Harris has been involved with refurbishment work at The Art Yard and is one of the sponsors supporting the venture. Experienced in shop fixtures and fitting, he has volunteered many hours of his free time helping to rip out old carpets, filling in cracks and holes, and painting ceilings, walls and floors. He's even spent time re-assembling a glass display cabinet with new fittings and new shelves. Martyn said, "I'm new to the group and realised the importance and how vital a venue The Art Yard is to artists who want to showcase their work. There is nothing similar for miles around where artists can afford to exhibit their work. For me the bonus is that during the week as a MFAA volunteer I get to use the main gallery as my studio free of charge and people often pop in for a chat or just to watch me work." Asked about sponsorship Martyn added, "To me being a sponsor is very worthwhile as it means The Art Yard remains open and is accessible to anyone wishing to exhibit their work in public at low cost. Already this has seen new artists including, children, recovering patients, professional artists and elderly people displaying their art in the galleries."
MFAA secretary Harry Bloomer expressed how grateful members are for the help, support, encouragement and funding received from the project patron, sponsors, members, artists and the public. He said, "It's quite remarkable how passionate and supportive others are about keeping The Art Yard open and how they feel it's an asset which the whole community can share and enjoy. Asked about the future direction of The Art Yard he said, "Its early days but the future looks secure. We have plans to improve access to both art and craft even more going forward and hope to begin Life Drawing classes in the studios by the end of the first year."
The next Open All Media exhibition takes place between Monday, October 9th and Friday, November 10th 2017.