Welcome to the new season at The Arts Society Royal Leamington Spa. I do hope that you have all been enjoying our beautifully warm, sunny summer-for once, not a sarcastic comment!!
As always, we have a full year of lectures, events and volunteering activities which I hope as many of you as possible will attend/get involved with and enjoy as we move past our 25th anniversary year and into our second quarter century.
Our programme secretary, Eithne Batt, has put together an outstanding programme of lectures, and it starts on Wednesday 5th September with Chloe Sayer lecturing on ‘Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera: The Golden Age of Mexican Painting.’– something that I would guess relatively few of us know a great deal about.
For those of you who plan to attend this lecture there are two important matters to be aware of:
1. As I mentioned at the lecture in July, the Ovo Energy Cycling Tour of Britain has a stage finishing in Leamington on the day of our first lecture. The result is that there will be various road closures and parking restrictions in Leamington on that day and, while we have confirmed that we are still able to use the Spa Centre for the lecture, I would strongly recommend that you allow more time than usual to make your way to the Spa Centre and for parking.
2. We have also reviewed the way that members register when you attend a lecture. The process of queueing at the registration desk to give your name and number has sometimes been somewhat tedious and has caused considerable congestion in the downstairs lobby area. Accordingly, from now on, all you will need to do is to show your programme card to the committee member inside the door as you arrive and they will ‘count’ you in. This does of course mean that you need to bring your programme card with you to each lecture that you attend; if you forget to do so then you will need to register at the desk as before. The membership desk will still be manned to deal with guests, visitors or any membership related queries that you may have.
As well as being on your programme card, full details of the lecture programme and synopses of the lectures are on our website (www.tasrls.org.uk). It also has all the details of our days of special interest, day visits, short breaks and our volunteering activities so please do make use of it to keep yourself up to date with what is going on; it is a mine of useful information, easy to use, with useful links and, apart from anything else, you will see just how active your society is!
Your programme card also has details of the planned day visits, days of special interest and short breaks and when tickets are being sold for these events. Do please come early if you want to go on these events as they are always very popular. Tickets for the day visit to Blenheim Palace on Thursday 15th November and for the day of special interest ‘Duchess to housewife’ (on Chatsworth) on Friday 12th October will be on sale at the September lecture.
In terms of our short breaks, those for Yorkshire in September 2018 and Berlin in May 2019 are now both sold out but, if these trips are of interest to you, keep an eye out for the Southern Ireland tour in September/October 2019, tickets for which will be on sale at the February 2019 lecture.
Our heritage volunteers have been busy over the summer. At the Herbert Museum in Coventry, the group has recently completed a project for the pre school group sessions which involved making cushion covers in shades of blue and green with different textures. I am delighted to be able to report that these volunteers are through to the finals of the West Midlands Volunteer Awards which are given regionally by the West Midlands Museum Development programme; I will let you know how they fare in the finals in a later communication. They are also about to start a new project with the transport museum and I will update you on this in due course. The volunteers working in the Leamington Museum, have now completed the WW1 quilt and this is now included in an exhibition in the Art Gallery called ‘Are you in this?’ with an acknowledgement of your society’s involvement in the project.
The project at All Saints’ Church is in its final stages and photographs of the volunteers and their work will soon be on permanent display in the church. Three items of embroidery are currently being mounted and framed and will also form part of the permanent exhibition; if you attend All Saints, or are just visiting, do take the opportunity to see the work that the volunteers have done there.
Angela Watkins, who runs our highly regarded team of church recorders, is currently working with a group at St. Francis of Assisi in Baddesley Clinton. The fieldwork is now almost complete and collating and photography is under way and it is hoped that the record will be complete later this year.
We are always looking for new volunteers for both the heritage volunteers and church recorders so, if this is of interest to you, please do contact the relevant people; their contact details are on your programme card and on the website.
Your society has also been active in the Young Arts arena. In November, Jacquie Smithson, a mixed media artist specialising in felt making worked as an artist-in-residence at Round Oak School in Warwick. Round Oak School provides for students aged 11 – 18 who have a broad spectrum of special educational needs. All the young people at the school participated in making felt leaves, twigs, clouds and berries for a wall hanging which is now in the school’s entrance hall.
In December members of The Arts Society attended the Playbox Theatre in Warwick to see an excellent production of ‘The Wizard of Oz’. The young actors put on a very professional and enjoyable performance.
Every year your society awards a bursary to a Foundation Year Student at Warwickshire College. This year the recipient is Sophie Ryan who is a Fashion/Textiles student.
Finally, if you are a new member, you will shortly receive an invitation to our new members coffee morning at Charlecote village hall at 10.30am on Thursday 11th October and I hope that as many as possible of you will be able to join myself, the Committee and other new members for what is always a pleasant and enjoyable morning.
I very much look forward to seeing and meeting as many of you as I can during the course of the season and I hope that you will thoroughly enjoy your membership of The Arts Society Royal Leamington Spa.