About us

Shaftesbury Arts Centre is a non-political charitable company limited by guarantee, run wholly by volunteers drawn from its membership.

Our purpose is in our mission statement:

‘Shaftesbury Arts Centre aims to take the lead in seeking to optimise opportunities for the community of Shaftesbury and the surrounding area to experience and take part in the highest standard of the widest range of the creative arts.'
Established in 1957 in the old covered market in the centre of the medieval Dorset hilltop market town of Shaftesbury, Shaftesbury Arts Centre is now widely recognised as one of the best volunteer membership-led arts centres in South West England.

Our regular, varied and lively year-round programme of amateur and professional plays, films, art, photography and craft exhibitions, workshops, and training courses draws people from far and wide including Wiltshire and Somerset. It is also increasingly taking the arts out into the community.

Finance & Funding
The Centre breaks even on its operational activities but because it receives very little public subsidy it relies on internal fundraising and the generosity of our patrons, sponsors and supporters to help fund major capital projects that keep the centre running and developing.

In recent years the following funding bodies, trusts, local organisations and companies have directly contributed to the fundraising efforts at the Centre: Rutters Solicitors, Philip Proctor & Associates, Shaftesbury Town Council, Hall & Woodhouse, Shaftesbury Charitable Trust, Shaftesbury Rotary Club, Shaftesbury Trinity Trust, Valentine Charitable Trust, Joyce Fletcher Charitable Trust, William Williams Charity, Foyle Foundation, Donhead Art Group, Melbury Abbas & Cann Women’s Institute, Shaftesbury & District Chamber of Commerce, Shaftesbury Carnival Committee, Shaftesbury Flower Arranging Group, United Churches Charities Fund, Barkshire Trust, IR Gift Aid Scheme, Swans Trust, Waitrose Ltd.

History
Founded in 1957 out of the Shaftesbury & District Arts Club started in 1949, Shaftesbury Arts Centre celebrated its half-century in 2007, and sixty years in 2017. It has been in continuous use throughout that period with the exception of a short break between 1965-67 when it was rebuilt after a fire.

Status
The Centre changed status in 2005 after 48 years as a voluntary association to become a not-for-profit limited company with charitable status - i.e. a charitable company - with the principal aim of improving its viability and efficiency and to meet the creative challenges of the 21st century.

Membership
Current members come from a wide area from every part of the community and from all socio-economic groups and surveys have shown the Centre is well liked and supported by them. Largely for these reasons the Centre was described by one Shaftesbury councillor in 2005 as ‘easily one of the most significant community groups in Shaftesbury’. Membership has remained steady, with a regular turnover of new members replacing those who have not renewed.

Purpose and Vision
The purpose of the arts centre remains basically the same today as when the centre was first established and as expressed in its constitution, namely ‘to promote, maintain, improve and advance the education of the public in the arts and science of music, opera, ballet, drama, film, photography, literature, painting, drawing and sculpture by the presentation of concerts, performances, exhibitions and other activities.’

In 2004, following the South West Arts Marketing report, this was refined by the then-management committee into a new ‘mission statement’ thus: ‘The mission of Shaftesbury Arts Centre is to secure for the Shaftesbury district community opportunities to experience and take part in high standard and diverse creative arts.’

In 2005 these aspirations were further revised on the recommendation of a special strategy working group to take account of the changing economic, political, social and cultural situation locally and encapsulated in the following, and still current, vision for the next 10 years: ‘Shaftesbury Arts Centre will take the lead in seeking to optimise opportunities for the community of Shaftesbury and the surrounding area to experience and take part in a high standard of the widest range of the creative arts.'

Forward strategy
The 2005 strategy working group produced a forward-planning document called 'The Way Ahead' that set out the plans and aspiration of the centre for the next ten years, up to 2015. The document was reviewed and updated in 2009 and a revised document adopted by the membership at the Centre's annual general meeting in February 2010.

For a copy of 'The Way Ahead: Development Strategy 2005-2015 (revised 2014)' click here.

Management structure
The Centre was incorporated as a charitable company limited by guarantee in 2005 replacing the association that ran it up to that point. However it remains managed and run by unpaid volunteers drawn from its membership as before.

The membership elects trustee-directors of the charitable company who are responsible for meeting the requirements of Companies Acts and the Charity Commission and form the management Board of the company. Presently the Board consists of a total of up to 12 trustee-directors, including a chairman, vice-chairman, company secretary, and honorary treasurer. All directors, including officers, are appointed to take responsibility for one or more of the centre’s activities (see below).

Officers & Directors
The officers and directors of Shaftesbury Arts Centre and their responsibilities can be found here.

The Board also sends a Board representative to meetings of Shaftesbury & District Chamber of Commerce, Shaftesbury & District Tourism Association and the Shaftesbury Community Partnership (Shaftesbury District Task Force Ltd).

Minutes of the Board Meetings can be downloaded here.

For a complete copy of Shaftesbury Arts Centre's Memorandum & Articles of Association please click here.

Contact details
You can contact any of the Board Directors with any questions or queries, or comments here.

Twitter

Open all weekend, including Sunday, 10am – 4pm – ‘Studio 90’ – Sue Cuff, Sue Vezey, Lindsey Keir, Deidre Greenwood, Mark Muspratt-Williams with an eclectic range of approaches to landscape, and natural form. #printmaking #painting #drawing #shaftesbury http://ow.ly/4NJH50xfZMl

In the gallery this week until 26 November, ‘Studio 90’ a group show of paintings, printmaking and drawings. #still life #naturalform #patternmaking #localartists #shaftesburyarts #visitshaftesbury #shaftesbury http://ow.ly/65BH50xfZjA

Last chance to see this eclectic group exhibition. The New Dorset Group show closes at 4pm tomorrow. #dorsetartists #expressiveart #abstractart #decorativearts #womenartists #visitshaftesbury #thehighpointofdorset http://ow.ly/f3Xe50x8uzT

The New Dorset Art Group’s exhibition continues until Tuesday 19th November. Closed Sunday. Nine women artists creating different responses to the landscape and natural form. #dorsetartists #painting #textiles #ceramics #printmaking http://ow.ly/qvXt50x8uod

Continuing this week in the gallery and to 19th November, The New Dorset Art Group. Sue Bennett, Sue Fawthrop, Claire Thomas, Eleanor Norman, Clare Shepherd, Catherine Pitchford, Orsola Adlem , Janet Parker Laird, Vanessa Stanfield #dorsetartists http://ow.ly/7tMa50x8u8X

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  • Open all weekend, including Sunday, 10am - 4pm - 'Studio 90' - Sue Cuff, Sue Vezey, Lindsey Keir, Deidre Greenwood, Mark Muspratt-Williams with an eclectic range of approaches to landscape, and natural form. #printmaking #painting #drawing #shaftesbury http://ow.ly/ATmg50xfZMk

    shaftesburyarts: "Open all weekend, including Sunday, 10am - 4pm - 'Studio 90' - Sue Cuff, Sue Vezey, Lindsey Keir, Deidre Greenwood, Mark Muspratt-Williams with an eclectic range of approaches to landscape, and natural form. #printmaking #painting #drawing #shaftesbury http://ow.ly/ATmg50xfZMk"
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  • In the gallery this week until 26 November, 'Studio 90' a group show of paintings, printmaking and drawings. #still life #naturalform #patternmaking #localartists #shaftesburyarts #visitshaftesbury #shaftesbury http://ow.ly/5Wca50xfZjz

    shaftesburyarts: "In the gallery this week until 26 November, 'Studio 90' a group show of paintings, printmaking and drawings.  #still life #naturalform #patternmaking #localartists #shaftesburyarts #visitshaftesbury #shaftesbury http://ow.ly/5Wca50xfZjz"
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  • Last chance to see this eclectic group exhibition. The New Dorset Group show closes at 4pm tomorrow. #dorsetartists #expressiveart #abstractart #decorativearts #womenartists #visitshaftesbury #thehighpointofdorset http://ow.ly/Yd5W50x8uzU

    shaftesburyarts: "Last chance to see this eclectic group exhibition. The New Dorset Group show closes at 4pm tomorrow. #dorsetartists #expressiveart #abstractart #decorativearts #womenartists #visitshaftesbury #thehighpointofdorset http://ow.ly/Yd5W50x8uzU"
    25
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  • The New Dorset Art Group's exhibition continues until Tuesday 19th November. Closed Sunday. Nine women artists creating different responses to the landscape and natural form. #dorsetartists #painting #textiles #ceramics #printmaking http://ow.ly/1B9c50x8uoe

    shaftesburyarts: "The New Dorset Art Group's exhibition continues until Tuesday 19th November. Closed Sunday.  Nine women artists creating different responses to the landscape and natural form. #dorsetartists #painting #textiles #ceramics #printmaking http://ow.ly/1B9c50x8uoe"
    26
    0
  • Continuing this week in the gallery and to 19th November, The New Dorset Art Group. Sue Bennett, Sue Fawthrop, Claire Thomas, Eleanor Norman, Clare Shepherd, Catherine Pitchford, Orsola Adlem , Janet Parker Laird, Vanessa Stanfield #dorsetartists http://ow.ly/SIWb50x8u8Y

    shaftesburyarts: "Continuing this week in the gallery and to 19th November, The New Dorset Art Group. Sue Bennett, Sue Fawthrop, Claire Thomas, Eleanor Norman, Clare Shepherd, Catherine Pitchford, Orsola Adlem , Janet Parker Laird, Vanessa Stanfield #dorsetartists  http://ow.ly/SIWb50x8u8Y"
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  • Make sure you check out this group exhibition over the weekend (closed Sunday) and into next week. The New Dorset Art Group is of serious artists, each with their own distinct style but with a common desire to create in whichever medium they prefer. http://ow.ly/rc4k50x3yaO

    shaftesburyarts: "Make sure you check out this group exhibition over the weekend (closed Sunday) and into next week. The New Dorset Art Group is  of serious artists, each with their own distinct style but with a  common desire to create in whichever medium they prefer.  http://ow.ly/rc4k50x3yaO"
    16
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  • From today in the gallery until 19th November - The New Dorset Art Group return with a mixed exhibition of painting, ceramics, textiles, printmaking and drawings. #abstract #decorative #floral#floral #landscape #dorsetartists #womenartists#visitshaftesbury http://www.shaftesburyartscentre.org.uk/events/new-dorset-art-group/

    shaftesburyarts: "From today in the gallery until 19th November - The New Dorset Art Group return with a mixed exhibition of painting, ceramics, textiles, printmaking and drawings. #abstract #decorative #floral#floral #landscape #dorsetartists #womenartists#visitshaftesbury http://www.shaftesburyartscentre.org.uk/events/new-dorset-art-group/"
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  • Last two days for 'Land Marks' from Zara McQueen. Closes tomorrow at 4pm. #wintrylandscapes #abstract #expressive #collage #oilpainting #mixedmedia #contemporaryart The Shaftesbury Group #shaftesburyartist #visitshaftesbury #dorsetartist http://ow.ly/8IMg50wSbOg

    shaftesburyarts: "Last two days for 'Land Marks' from Zara McQueen. Closes tomorrow at 4pm. #wintrylandscapes #abstract #expressive #collage #oilpainting #mixedmedia #contemporaryart The Shaftesbury Group #shaftesburyartist #visitshaftesbury #dorsetartist http://ow.ly/8IMg50wSbOg"
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  • Final weekend for this stunning exhibition from Zara McQueen. Open 10am - 4pm including Sunday, finishes Tuesday 5th November. Don't miss it! #shaftesburylandscapes #gardenshapes #honesty #autumnfields #visitshaftesbury #localart #shaftesburyartist http://ow.ly/IlIs50wSb3l

    shaftesburyarts: "Final weekend for this stunning exhibition from Zara McQueen. Open 10am - 4pm including Sunday, finishes Tuesday 5th November. Don't miss it! #shaftesburylandscapes #gardenshapes #honesty #autumnfields #visitshaftesbury #localart #shaftesburyartist http://ow.ly/IlIs50wSb3l"
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  • Continuing this week and until 5th November, 'Land Marks' from Zara McQueen. #neighbours #jenneywren #shaftesburycommunity #springlandscape #oilpainting, #collage #mixedmedia #dorsetartist #visitshaftesbury #theshaftesburygroup http://ow.ly/ecCY50wSaav

    shaftesburyarts: "Continuing this week and until 5th November, 'Land Marks' from Zara McQueen. #neighbours #jenneywren #shaftesburycommunity #springlandscape #oilpainting, #collage #mixedmedia #dorsetartist #visitshaftesbury #theshaftesburygroup http://ow.ly/ecCY50wSaav"
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