Frome Open Studios

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June 2019 Newsletter https://mailchi.mp/aea8c0af3316/june-news

May 2019 Newsletter

Report on Frome Artists Café May 2019

Feedback on my Artists Café newsletter of May 2019 concerning the validity of continuing the café in view of low attendance in recent months.

I received several responses, mostly supportive and for your information detail the feedback and brief notes on the discussions ensuing at the May 2019 Artist Café.  Approximately 20 in attendance.

  • One person mentioned that I had at a particular meeting distressed an individual due to my blunt manner and that this was the reason for low attendance. I stressed to the group that they were probably unaware of any history prior to that event and that like any normal person for various reasons I may not always in a good mood.  As this is the only criticism I have received of this nature in 8 years, I stated that I felt this was a pretty good track record.  No-one disagreed.
  • It has been mentioned that background noise can be an issue making it difficult sometimes to take an active part in conversation. I do sympathise, I’m not getting any younger and I often find the same, I believe it would be the same in any meeting room.  I think if you want someone to repeat something, no-one will mind you asking, lots of us are in the same boat.  Be persistent.
  • Similarly, to some the stairs are an issue. Again, I sympathise.  We are, I’m afraid constrained by the availability of appropriate spaces to use in Frome.

We don’t ask for any fees to be part of the group, so there is no budget to hire space.  The Three Swans book us this room a year ahead for free.  It was agreed that despite its occasional drawbacks it is a very pleasant and appropriate room.  It’s worth pointing out that we always get a very friendly welcome, Lucy the landlady actively helps promote the café and they do serve good beer.

The Black Swan Café was suggested as an alternative, but many said they enjoy the relaxed pub atmosphere of The Three Swan plus other similar groups use the Black Swan already.  We would also have to provide our own refreshment there.

  • I had a very positive response for continuing the café, individuals citing that it provides a good stepping stone into learning about Frome from an artistic point of view and a lot of people value it as somewhere they can drop into either regularly or irregularly, there is definite value in having regular meetings.

It was suggested and agreed by all that we would discontinue January meetings due it’s proximity to Christmas/New Year combined often with inclement weather and thus low attendance.

  • Some people don’t live in Frome but do value getting the newsletters to learn what is going on. However, I’m going to look at changing the format a bit, not sure how yet, suggestions would be valuable.
  • Some find it conflicts with other activities but still want to come when able. To ease the burden several people offered to attend in my absence when required.
  • It has been suggested that the conversation be opened on FB. I wanted to address the question to those who are most likely to turn up first as I feel they take priority, however I intend to precis this and put it onto FB and gauge reactions.
  • A change of day or time has been suggested.

It was agreed that this probably wouldn’t help as there is strong competition with other events throughout the week.

  • Similarly, a suggestion to run the café during the day was made.

This conflicts with those who work or have family responsibilities.  I don’t believe it would be possible to find a day/time that would suit all and it was agreed that a change now would be counter-productive.

 Conclusion

For the time being I intend to keep the café going but will consider fully everyone’s comments and make any changes that are viable.

However it would be great if everyone would help to encourage others to come.

I am happy to include the occasional talk or presentation but not every month as the café is primarily a social event.  This style of meeting is easily available with other similar groups in Frome.

If anyone has any comments on the above please contact me on [email protected] or come along to our next evening on 5th June 2019, Upstairs from 7.30pm in The Three Swans.