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 the gallery to 8 May - Lin Walker solo exhibition 'What If'. Ceramic reliefs and sculptures responding to found objects in the environment. Closed Sundays #exploration #discardedobjects #texture #relief #contemporaryart #dorsetlife http://ow.ly/wUtA30jHlmA

    shaftesburyarts: "In the gallery to 8 May - Lin Walker solo exhibition 'What If'. Ceramic reliefs and sculptures responding to found objects in the environment. Closed Sundays #exploration #discardedobjects #texture #relief #contemporaryart #dorsetlife http://ow.ly/wUtA30jHlmA"
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  • Last chance to see the Southern Contemporaries vibrant group show in the gallery. Finishes tomorrow 3pm. #abstract art #contempraryart #dorsetartists #paintings #sculpture #mixedmedia http://ow.ly/TEFc30jtgnb

    shaftesburyarts: "Last chance to see the Southern Contemporaries vibrant group show in the gallery. Finishes tomorrow 3pm.  #abstract art #contempraryart #dorsetartists #paintings #sculpture #mixedmedia http://ow.ly/TEFc30jtgnb"
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  • Don't miss the Southern Contemporaries group show. In the gallery until 24 April including Sunday. #distantlands #mixedmedia #naturalform #dorsetartists #contemporaryartists http://ow.ly/tsp330jtg6N

    shaftesburyarts: "Don't miss the Southern Contemporaries group show. In the gallery until 24 April including Sunday. #distantlands #mixedmedia #naturalform #dorsetartists #contemporaryartists http://ow.ly/tsp330jtg6N"
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  • Continuing this week in the gallery - Southern Contemporaries - vibrant landscapes, moody seas just some of what their group is showing. #contemporaryart #abstractart #expressiveart #dorsetlandscapes #dorsetcoast http://ow.ly/Q9IL30jtfKe

    shaftesburyarts: "Continuing this week in the gallery - Southern Contemporaries - vibrant landscapes, moody seas just some of what their group is showing. #contemporaryart #abstractart #expressiveart #dorsetlandscapes #dorsetcoast http://ow.ly/Q9IL30jtfKe"
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  • In the gallery to 24 April - 'Southern Contemporaries' group exhibition. Diverse mediums, diverse subjects and styles. Open everyday inc. Sunday 10am-4pm #painting #stonecarving #abstract #impressionist #symbolic http://ow.ly/qCvi30jszKU

    shaftesburyarts: "In the gallery to 24 April - 'Southern Contemporaries' group exhibition. Diverse mediums, diverse subjects and styles. Open everyday inc. Sunday 10am-4pm #painting #stonecarving #abstract #impressionist #symbolic http://ow.ly/qCvi30jszKU"
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  • Last chance to see 'Altered Images' group show in the gallery. Six artists show diverse styles and content. Closes tomorrow at 4pm #westcountryartists #dorsetartists #somersetartists http://ow.ly/z9AH30jlCzb

    shaftesburyarts: "Last chance to see 'Altered Images' group show in the gallery. Six artists show diverse styles and content. Closes tomorrow at 4pm #westcountryartists #dorsetartists #somersetartists http://ow.ly/z9AH30jlCzb"
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  • Make sure you see the current exhibition before it finishes next Tuesday. 'Altered Images' in the gallery. #portraits #abstracts #livestock #painting #drawing #collage #closedsunday http://ow.ly/UTu830jlCqj

    shaftesburyarts: "Make sure you see the current exhibition before it finishes next Tuesday. 'Altered Images' in the gallery. #portraits #abstracts #livestock #painting #drawing #collage #closedsunday http://ow.ly/UTu830jlCqj"
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  • Continuing this week in the gallery, 'Altered Images' -group show, six artists. #expressive #portrait #landscape #seascape #contemporaryart #westcountryartists http://ow.ly/Ss6j30jcOJe

    shaftesburyarts: "Continuing this week in the gallery, 'Altered Images' -group show, six artists. #expressive #portrait #landscape #seascape #contemporaryart #westcountryartists http://ow.ly/Ss6j30jcOJe"
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  • 'Altered Images' in the gallery to 10 April. Six artists who gather to cogitate on their creativity! Closed Sunday so you can eat your Easter eggs. #collage #sculpture #dorsetlandscape #happyeaster #eostre http://ow.ly/blch30jcNN5

    shaftesburyarts: "'Altered Images' in the gallery to 10 April. Six artists who gather to cogitate on their creativity! Closed Sunday so you can eat your Easter eggs.  #collage #sculpture #dorsetlandscape #happyeaster #eostre http://ow.ly/blch30jcNN5"
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  • In the gallery from today 'Altered Images' to 10 April, Six artists, six different approaches to making art. #graphic #impressionist #expressive #cornishseas #dorsetsheep #iwanttoridemybicycle http://ow.ly/gE0M30jcNe5

    shaftesburyarts: "In the gallery from today 'Altered Images' to 10 April, Six artists, six different approaches to making art. #graphic #impressionist #expressive #cornishseas #dorsetsheep #iwanttoridemybicycle http://ow.ly/gE0M30jcNe5"
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