What is the social/environmental problem/issue that this project will address?
Consultation with our stakeholders (local residents, schools, visitors and volunteers) about the things we can do to make the gallery identified issues like physical access, safe outdoor space, outdoor learning, the poor state of the front area, the perceived inaccessibility of contemporary art, and the need for an ’open’ appearance to the gallery.
We know from working with young single parents groups and groups like excluded students at the Pupil Referral Unit that while we have lots to interest and excite them inside, that first scary step through the door is a very big one to take.
Newlyn itself, an old fishing port, is deficient in communal outdoor space that is not exposed to the extremes of a marine climate. It also lacks recreation space that is safe and near facilities like toilets and a cafe. The community suffers from low income and employment levels that accompany a declining industry. The local schools we work with, for example, display special educational needs that reflect their socially disadvantaged catchment area.
The gallery itself is a major popular regional resource that brings in 25,000 visitors a year. There are sections of our community who are not taking advantage of the cultural and creative opportunities, the thrilling exhibitions, the learning offer and the warm social setting that we have, and we know from piloting work with groups like young parents that once they come in and become familiar, the gallery becomes a welcoming and entertaining place.
Can you give us some statistics on this problem?
The IMD 2010 statistics for the Newlyn area identify it as within the 8% most deprived in terms of employment and 9% most deprived for income in England.
The Local Development Framework predicts future housing demand, proposing an additional 2,150 dwellings for Newlyn and Penzance, and an accompanying increase in population and demand for recreation space. Local authority maps show a lack of similar outside spaces in the area. The project supports the Council’s Connecting Cornwall 2030 strategy for improving cycling networks and disabled parking. Data from local industry events such as the Newlyn Fish Festival provide evidence of demand for more outside events space, as visitor numbers are increasing, at +11% in 2011 on the previous year.
What is your solution?
We are setting in place the physical changes, with design advice from the actual gallery users, that will create the environment where local people and visitors can feel welcome and a part of their own cultural resource. The community can then take better advantage of what the gallery has to offer in terms of social, recreational, educational and vocational benefits. We will also be better placed to respond to community demands, for instance in supporting local industry and community events such as the Newlyn Fish Festival and Newlyn Arts Festival.
How will you deliver this?
We will, using design input from a new regular art groups of young people and young parents, and visitors, begin a series of capital works in the spring 2013: hard and soft landscaping, the cycle rack, seating and disabled parking. As the year progresses, we will be working with the schools and other groups to shape the colour garden/art allotment with the help of a gardener tutor.
Throughout the process we will invite feedback from our audience, plot our progress on our website, and mark landmarks with social events like a proposed wet auction, or a garden party. The project will be managed by our Operations Officer with input from our Education Officer, and financial supervision from the Finance Officer with the support of administration and development staff. All project budgets are further scrutinised by the Director and the Company Treasurer and Finance Group of the galleries’ board