About us

Shaftesbury Arts Centre is a 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. It has been in continuous use throughout that period with the exception of a short break between 1965-7 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 - ie 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 and the Treasurer's Reports 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.

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  • In Shaftesbury this weekend? Head to the gallery to see colourful art from the New Dorset Art Group. Nine artists show a variety of styles and processes. #ceramics #printmaking #painting #dorsetartists #supportlocalartists #visitshaftesbury http://ow.ly/S4dI30lUFPP

    shaftesburyarts: "In Shaftesbury this weekend? Head to the gallery to see colourful art from the New Dorset Art Group. Nine artists show a variety of styles and processes. #ceramics #printmaking #painting #dorsetartists #supportlocalartists #visitshaftesbury http://ow.ly/S4dI30lUFPP"
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  • This week in the gallery - New Dorset Art Group return with their eclectic collection of style, discipline and subject. #oilpainting #watercolours #ceramics #acrylicpainting #pleinair #abstract #localartists #dorsetartists http://ow.ly/9e3S30lTahl

    shaftesburyarts: "This week in the gallery - New Dorset Art Group return with their eclectic collection of style, discipline and subject. #oilpainting #watercolours #ceramics #acrylicpainting #pleinair #abstract #localartists #dorsetartists http://ow.ly/9e3S30lTahl"
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  • Last two days to see this vibrant exhibition from Karren Burkett and Amanda House. Closes Tuesday 18 Sept at 4pm. #textart #applique #stitching #embroidery #painting #paintingwithvigour #detail #raindropsonwindows #supportlocalartists #dorsetartists http://ow.ly/h6I530lQ88O

    shaftesburyarts: "Last two days to see this vibrant exhibition from Karren Burkett and Amanda House.  Closes Tuesday 18 Sept at 4pm. #textart #applique #stitching #embroidery #painting #paintingwithvigour  #detail #raindropsonwindows #supportlocalartists #dorsetartists http://ow.ly/h6I530lQ88O"
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  • Open all weekend including Sunday - paintings by Karren Burkett and textiles/mixedmedia from Amanda House - continues to Tuesday 18 Sept. #artistsbooks #plasterofparis #coldwax #hotwax #ancientstones #glorioussummer #justsitting #supportlocalartists http://ow.ly/HqWh30lPmQA

    shaftesburyarts: "Open all weekend including Sunday - paintings by Karren Burkett and textiles/mixedmedia from Amanda House - continues to Tuesday 18 Sept. #artistsbooks #plasterofparis #coldwax #hotwax #ancientstones #glorioussummer #justsitting #supportlocalartists http://ow.ly/HqWh30lPmQA"
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  • In the gallery from today until 18 Sept - Karren Burkett and Amanda House with paintings, pastels and textile art. #expressive #sunflowers #poppyheads #applique #embroidery # butterfly #poetry #artistsbooks #summerart #affordableart #dorsetartists http://ow.ly/QMgM30lMSTf

    shaftesburyarts: "In the gallery from today until 18 Sept - Karren Burkett and Amanda House with paintings, pastels and textile art. #expressive #sunflowers #poppyheads #applique #embroidery # butterfly #poetry #artistsbooks #summerart #affordableart #dorsetartists http://ow.ly/QMgM30lMSTf"
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  • Make sure you see this skilful work from Neil Colclough this weekend. Open all weekend (including Sunday) and continues to Tuesday 11 Sept. #coastal #dorsetcoast #jurassiccoast #countingboats #boatcurves #harbourscenes #localartist #visitshaftesbury http://ow.ly/ehTi30lIpYF

    shaftesburyarts: "Make sure you see this skilful work from Neil Colclough this weekend. Open all weekend (including Sunday) and continues to Tuesday 11 Sept. #coastal #dorsetcoast #jurassiccoast #countingboats #boatcurves #harbourscenes #localartist #visitshaftesbury http://ow.ly/ehTi30lIpYF"
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  • In the gallery this week until 11 Sept - Neil Colcough's first solo exhibition. Inspired by the West Country. #wingreen #stourhead #locallandscapes #localartist #colour #light #visitshaftesbury #dorsetlifemag http://ow.ly/ds4k30lHMgX

    shaftesburyarts: "In the gallery this week until 11 Sept - Neil Colcough's first solo exhibition. Inspired by the West Country. #wingreen #stourhead #locallandscapes #localartist #colour #light #visitshaftesbury #dorsetlifemag http://ow.ly/ds4k30lHMgX"
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  • Last two days to see this thoughtful exhibition of photography by Simon Baddeley and Michael Breecham. Closes 4pm Tuesday 4th September. #pasture #depthoffield #perspective #dreaming #whitelight #tonalcontrast #dorset #wiltshire #localart http://ow.ly/iILV30lCkZf

    shaftesburyarts: "Last two days to see this thoughtful exhibition of photography by Simon Baddeley and Michael Breecham. Closes 4pm Tuesday 4th September. #pasture #depthoffield #perspective #dreaming #whitelight #tonalcontrast #dorset #wiltshire #localart http://ow.ly/iILV30lCkZf"
    22
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  • Open all weekend including Sunday - photographs by Simon Baddeley and Michael Beecham. #colourfields #exposedswans #monoland #dogpose #localartists #affordableart #photoart #artinshaftesbury #visitshaftesbury #dorsetlife http://ow.ly/1x3a30lCkvf

    shaftesburyarts: "Open all weekend including Sunday - photographs by Simon Baddeley and Michael Beecham. #colourfields #exposedswans #monoland #dogpose #localartists #affordableart #photoart #artinshaftesbury #visitshaftesbury #dorsetlife http://ow.ly/1x3a30lCkvf"
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  • In the gallery this week - photography from Simon Baddeley and Michael Beecham. Everyday 10am - 4pm to 4 Sept. #mono #landscape #meredown #beastfromtheeast #sheepstare #closeup #meadowflowers #bokeh #colour @simonbaddeley @mikebeecham http://ow.ly/ERfI30lBqiv

    shaftesburyarts: "In the gallery this week - photography from Simon Baddeley and Michael Beecham. Everyday 10am - 4pm to 4 Sept. #mono #landscape #meredown #beastfromtheeast #sheepstare #closeup #meadowflowers #bokeh #colour @simonbaddeley @mikebeecham http://ow.ly/ERfI30lBqiv"
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