This last week has been an enlightening and eye-opening one. The culmination of some months of organising has finally seen the Maldon Art Trail come to fruition. It is deeply satisfying to see the artworks on show and to have been part of the process that brought it together.
I've been quite surprised at the diversity of work on show and more than a little proud to be living in an area that can produce such work. I am also proud of the businesses that have given so much valuable window space to display the work of local artists and entered into the community spirit. They have been enthusiastic and eager about the event all along. It is very encouraging that my home town can give so much for nothing. The artists paid a nominal fee to enter the Art Trail (£20) but the venues give it up for free. Some, like Reeves in the High Street, have given their entire window space to the artists on show in their shop.
From a personal perspective, I have gained much pleasure from being involved in the making of the Art Trail and have gained a lot of passion not only for future Art Trails and what it can offer the artists and the town, but also for the artists themselves and for the town. Maldon has a lot to offer already but it could be so much more of an attraction given the right mindset by the local councils.
Next year, I would like to see performing arts, such as circus skills, street theatre and music, in the streets of Maldon. This would necessitate road closures but choosing the right roads would make this easier. To close off the High Street takes more money and insurance and organising than I think MDC could afford - but never say never. One possibility would be to hold such an event around the Silver Street area, just off the High Street and in the centre of town.
I think the Art Trail can also 'trail' its way through the year by having events (talks, demonstrations, workshops, etc) throughout the year, say every couple of months. This would keep awareness alive, help to bring in funds, and to recruit much-needed volunteers for the Art Trail committee.
I'd love to see more artists and more venues and to be able to reach artists who have never exhibited before. Maldon Art Trail can become an event that brings more and more people from out of town than ever before and I'd like to be part of that.
As a new committee our learning curve this year has been steep but it will make things so much easier for following years. Once this week is over properly we will have time to sit back and reflect on what went well and what needs improvement and what more can we do in future years. For the moment I'd like to sit back and enjoy it … and to celebrate what we have achieved.