So, we are already 1/6 of the way through 2014! How did that happen?
2013 was an exciting year, with the formation of this project and all the many fun things that happened along the way. It’s hard to believe that this time last year I was still vehermently against social networking and anything ‘computery’. I was perfectly content in my own little semi-Luddite world, with my sewing machine and record player, and I truly believed that Facebook, Twitter and blogs were just not for me. But I did obviously give in eventually and, although I still have my issues with it all, it has helped me emormously in setting up the Chorlton Revival project and the Chorlton Art Market. Through becoming more accepting of social media, I have connected with many people and organisations who share my passion for town centre regeneration and the worrying situation of Britain’s high streets and without it, I know that I could not of raised the amount of money that I did in the time I did it.
So, the Revival plans for 2014 are now underway. The next bench is currently being made and the next mural is being designed, with the aim for it to all be installed in the precinct some time in March. It is thanks to the generousity of local people and businesses that all this can happen so I truly hope that the additions will make a difference to the area. Raising the money to make this happen, and forming a group to help to spend it has taught me many, many things. All I will say is that, when it comes to ‘community minded’ people who you meet online, trust your first instincts! Sometimes strange people are simply strange people and no matter how reasonable and democratic you try to be, stange people will not change. I very nearly let certain events completely put me off taking this project forward but now I am even firmer in my convictions!
As for the market, here is where more important lessons (which I should have already known) have been learned. I have learned that big businesses have no intention of helping out someone if there is no financial gain to them. I have learned that big businesses will quite happily facelessly use someone and then just drop them without any discussion. In essence, I have learned not to be so earnestly naive when it comes to dealing with some people.
So, in summary (so as not to drone on about the boring details), because of all these lessons learned, Chorlton Art Market will not be held in the precinct any more. From this coming Saturday, the market will now take place in a new location in the town. Although slightly smaller than the precinct space, the plan is to have 20 stalls with high quality artwork and locally produced designs. I need to make ‘High Quality Artwork’ the market tagline as it is absoultly crucial that this market is a high quality event and is clearly different to the usual ‘craft fair’ events. This has been my drive from the beginning and I need to always keep this in mind.