September 29 2008

Beacon Award – Our Response

Alex Bowen Betws 2007

“I am passionate about Community Arts. I’ve been doing it for 20 years and still believe in it as much as when I first saw what it could do in a Film Workshop in York all those years ago. I still believe in it because it’s about believing in people. Community Arts is about people’s lives, and believing that everyone has the capacity to be creative, the right to experience creative opportunities, and the possibility of a life-changing experience as a result.

If you’re not passionate about people, go and get another job – go and be an Artist, not a Community Artist. As well as having a creative skill and wanting to share this with others a Community Artist must have empathy, integrity, respect for others, a commitment to the people and processes they are working with and the ability to provide participants with a safe space for creativity.

I am so proud to have been awarded a Beacon Award this year from The Arts Council of Wales. This award recognises a long journey for our organisation from its early days with Manpower Services funding in the Vale of Glamorgan, through working with Valleys’ communities in the Miners’ Strikes of the 80’s and into a new era which holds both opportunities and threats for the Community Arts Sector.

My hope for the Beacon Awards is that we use them to create new and exciting work, that we use them to do the things that we dream of but can’t usually achieve on our tight funding budgets and with the daily struggles to survive. This award for me is like a breath of fresh air, a breathing space, a chance to let our ideas fly. We have worked so hard to get where we are today, we should celebrate what we have achieved.”

Alex Bowen, Director

(Excerpts from a new article in next issue of NCA -National Campaign for the Arts – magazine).