Sunday, June 03, 2012

Summer Art Exhibition
At The Dovecote In Valentines Park

Guest post from Alfred.

You may know that the council decided last year in its wisdom to remove all funding for the Redbridge Arts Council and transfer the allocation and distribution of arts funding in Redbridge to the agency Vision, a limited company with charitable status, which is also responsible for Barkingside swimming pool and leisure centre, Fairlop Waters and many more similar sites. Because that decision left the R.A.C. entirely without resources, it meant that the organisation, after many years of sterling voluntary work in the cause of art and culture in Redbridge, had to be disbanded.

One of the activities which might have been adversely affected by the demise of the R.A.C., or which could have been completely abandoned were the annual summer art exhibitions at the Dovecote in Valentines Park, which featured the work of it’s members, but owing to the persistence and determination of Mrs. Norah Crombie, previously the Arts and Crafts chairman, a new independent body, the Redbridge Art Association, was formed from six former member groups of the R.A.C. and the exhibitions did take place in July and August last year. Both were very successful, with nearly a thousand visitors passing through the doors over the two months of their duration and this year, thanks to the tenacity of Mrs. Crombie and the good offices of the Valentines Park supervisor, there will be three exhibitions.

They will be held again under the auspices of the R.A.A. a partnership of six art organisations within the borough: The Redbridge Art Group, Redbridge U3A at St. Theresa’s, Redbridge U3A Fullwell Cross Art Group, Redbridge Marquetry Group, Ilford Art Society, and an association of individual photographers.

This year the exhibitions will run for the three months of July, August and September, with each one of the months displaying the work of two different member groups. July will feature The Ilford Art Society and the photographers, August, the Redbridge U3A Art group at St. Theresa’s and the Redbridge U3A Fullwell Cross Art Group, and September, the Redbridge Marquetry Group and The Redbridge Art Group. Visitors will be able to express their preference for any specific work and the resulting ballot will determine which one will be awarded ’Best in Show’. If any art lover would care to come forward with a material prize or trophy, R.A.A. will be very happy and grateful to accept. I will publish a reminder of the events a little nearer the opening date.

Last year there were two winners because there were two exhibitions featuring three groups in July and August. The ‘Best in Class’, as voted by the visitors to the exhibition in July was Stan Rowe, from the Redbridge Marquetry Group, with his entry “The Long March”, and the winner of the August show was Roy Blake from U3A St. Teresa’s Art Group, with his watercolour “Winter”.

click on image to enlarge


  1. As for many years the former Chairman of Redbridge Arts Council I am delighted that the Arts Groups have united under Norah's inspirational leadership and are continuing the excellent summer exhibitions in the Dovecote at Valentines Park.
    Keep up the good work all of you.
    The disbanding of the RAC was, as far as I am concerned, absolutely disgraceful and the level of grant given miniscule in relation to the Council budget. The RAC was composed of a number the small groups that the RAC were able to award small grants. These allocated democratically and analysed carefuly made an incredible difference to their work/events. The network of communication and support was highly valued by members of the RAC.
    Unfortunately although the Arts are transforming many people controlling budgets do not place the value on them as I, and I know many others, would wish.

    Joyce Ryan

    1. Decisions about council grants, Joyce, are made by people who know the price of everything but the value of nothing.

    2. the annoying anonymous10:25 pm, June 07, 2012

      Did that generalization apply when you and Cllr Mrs Ryan were Cabinet Members?

    3. I know of few people with the capacity to argue her corner as ably and as consistently as Joyce Ryan. In a democracy decisions are made not by an individual, but by a majority of those appointed to do so. Such decisions may not be always the right ones.

    4. the annoying anonymous12:10 am, June 08, 2012

      And the role of the Whip is?

  2. In my time as a member the cabinet was not whipped. I cannot say what they do now (neither, I suspect, can some of them).

  3. Unlike "the annoying anonymous" I have the integrity and courage to sign anything I write, not hide under a hidden name
    When I did have the responsibility for the Arts they were not "downsized" or had their budget cuts
    In fact the new CommunityCentre/Library was built in Chadwell, the book fund had a small increase in budget and the KMT and RAC valued.
    I have never changed or deviated from my support of the Arts and their importance to a civilized society.
    Very often to my own disadvantage, but true to my values!
    Joyce Ryan

  4. I did not expect to get a reaction from my innocuous notice about the Dovecote exhibitions and so I was delighted to read Joyce Ryan's comments. If ever there was a champion of the arts, it has to be the redoubtable Joyce.

    Thank you for your comments, Mrs. Ryan, with which I am sure every sensible person would agree. Please do not fail to pay us a visit (or two or three) at the Dovecote and don't forget there are THREE separate exhibitions this year.