Chairman's report Spring Meeting AGM . Mon 5 March 2018. Tapton Hall Sheffield

Chairman’s Report for Spring Meeting at Tapton Hall, Sheffield on Monday, 5th March 2018


I first want to thank you all for coming to Sheffield today, rather than the Folk Hall in York, and to thank Michael Banks offering this excellent venue to us.  Since it was announced I have been met with some rather long faces from my friends on Teesside and even more so from those on Tyneside, ad my response has been “they are happy in Halifax”, so I do hope the South Yorkshire Societies are well represented here today.  I am assured the changes at the Folk Hall in York will be finished by June when we can continue to meet there in greater comfort.


As I chair my 4th Spring Meeting, having taken over early when Jennifer Downey was unwell, and prepare to hand over to Lizzie Darbyshire, I must comment that there have been highs and lows over my time.  Probably the most difficult has been the rebranding, and I am pleased the majority of the Societies have now adopted their new names, but I know this has not always been easy, particularly in areas where there is already an established Art Society.  Can I encourage you work with these Art Societies and invite them to your meetings as I understand the Scarborough Society are doing.


I have tried to visit each Society in this area, only completely this very pleasant part of the job as recently as January, where I was asked which had been the best lecture I had attended and I was stumped as I have been to so many very good ones.  I hope you agree the standard of lecturers continues to rise, and please note that a list of local lecturers has been compiled for those occasions when the booked lecture does not make it for whatever reason, probably weather and hopefully not illness.


There have been many changes of members on the Area Committee and I will not list them all but I do want to thank everyone for their help, support  and friendship.  We are always looking for new people to join and if you feel members of your society would be suitable and interested, please do not hesitate to contact the Area Chairman;  at  the moment we are looking for more help with Young Arts and an Area Trainer.  I am delighted to confirm that there will be more Training Days in York again this year as they were such a success in 2017.  Do look out for the announcements on The Arts Society website.


Now we are looking forward to celebrating The Arts Society Golden Year, when the Annual Meeting will be back in London on May 16th? and there is to be a special Service beforehand at Westminster Abbey.  As well there is the Great Exhibition of the North which is centred on Tyneside from 22nd June to 17th  September and Lizzie Darbyshire is leading her committee for this with help from Tyneside and other local societies. They are arranging a series of weekly lectures at the Roxy Cinema in Newcastle.  Keep an eye out for the details and the other events they are planning.  It all ends of the day of the Great North Run, when I understand Florian will be running.


If it is as successful as the City of Culture has been in Hull, it will be wonderful.  I do want to finish by congratulating everyone who put Hull on show last year and keep visiting them.


Just one more thank you to all the members who have shown me such friendship on my visits.  I know our first task is to spread an interest in the Arts, but I hope you agree it spreads great friendship too.