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, 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

Just a sneak peek from our dress rehearsal……The Nutcracker – a pantomime.

Keep watching for more pictures!

Tickets are on sale with a great first night offer!

It is Dress Rehearsal day for The Nutcracker – a pantomime!

We open next wed with a great first night ticket price, so don’t miss out on this pantomime. Full of adventures, evil plots, friends, laughs and… https://t.co/DF5vpXthMP

The Gallery opens its doors for 2019 with Welcome 19, a taster show with art representing each of the 32 exhibitions that are booked this year. A huge variety of style, technique and subject matter. Until 2 February. #oilpainting #impasto #collage https://t.co/CssswETIq3

In the Ron Holmes Gallery until 27 Jan – Footprints – photography by Neil Baird. Social commentary on the theme of climate change. What is your carbon footprint?
#climatechange #carbonfootprint #portraits #frequentflyer #longhaul #walking #driving https://t.co/9WPiC04UGn

Still wondering what to do on Friday night? Here’s an idea – a brilliant funny witty idea! Come along to Andrew’s Comedy Night at the arts centre.

He’ll be hosting regular events giving you a… https://t.co/5edmTfdPrZ

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  • The Gallery opens its doors for 2019 with Welcome 19, a taster show with art representing each of the 32 exhibitions that are booked this year. A huge variety of style, technique and subject matter. Until 2 February. #oilpainting #impasto #collage http://ow.ly/bMPE30nmONz

    shaftesburyarts: "The Gallery opens its doors for 2019 with Welcome 19, a taster show with art representing each of the 32 exhibitions that are booked this year. A huge variety of style, technique and subject matter. Until 2 February. #oilpainting #impasto #collage http://ow.ly/bMPE30nmONz"
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  • In the Ron Holmes Gallery until 27 Jan - Footprints - photography by Neil Baird. Social commentary on the theme of climate change. What is your carbon footprint? #climatechange #carbonfootprint #portraits #frequentflyer #longhaul #walking #driving http://ow.ly/L7h030nmNv6

    shaftesburyarts: "In the Ron Holmes Gallery until 27 Jan - Footprints - photography by Neil Baird. Social commentary on the theme of climate change. What is your carbon footprint?
#climatechange #carbonfootprint #portraits #frequentflyer #longhaul #walking #driving http://ow.ly/L7h030nmNv6"
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  • The gallery team have been busy refreshing the walls with their annual coat of paint ready for the first exhibition of the year 'Welcome19' which opens on 17 January. Find out more in this interview http://thisisalfred.com/arts/shaftesbury-art-centre-previewing-this-years-gallery-artists/ #artinshaftesbury #tastershow http://ow.ly/kOiL30nhL7S

    shaftesburyarts: "The gallery team have been busy refreshing the walls with their annual coat of paint ready for the first exhibition of the year 'Welcome19' which opens on 17 January. Find out more in this interview http://thisisalfred.com/arts/shaftesbury-art-centre-previewing-this-years-gallery-artists/  #artinshaftesbury #tastershow http://ow.ly/kOiL30nhL7S"
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  • Last two days to see this exhibition. Closes tomorrow at 4pm. Eeles Pottery and Keith Stott. #ceramics #pastellandscapes #pastelstilllifes #decorative #functional #crafts #postChristmasgift #artisforlifenotjustforchristmas http://ow.ly/xfw230n3Vly

    shaftesburyarts: "Last two days to see this exhibition. Closes tomorrow at 4pm. Eeles Pottery and Keith Stott. #ceramics #pastellandscapes #pastelstilllifes #decorative #functional #crafts #postChristmasgift #artisforlifenotjustforchristmas http://ow.ly/xfw230n3Vly"
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  • Walking off the excesses of the festivities? Wander into the gallery to see Eeles' Pottery and Keith Stott's soft pastels. Open every day until New Year's Day. #visitshaftesbury #thehighpointofdorset #swirlsandspirals #lustrousglazes #locallandscapes http://ow.ly/UO4e30n3V1p

    shaftesburyarts: "Walking off the excesses of the festivities? Wander into the gallery to see Eeles' Pottery and Keith Stott's soft pastels. Open every day until New Year's Day. #visitshaftesbury #thehighpointofdorset #swirlsandspirals #lustrousglazes #locallandscapes http://ow.ly/UO4e30n3V1p"
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  • Great for last minute Christmas shopping - Eeles Pottery and Keith Stott Pastels. In the gallery everyday except Christmas Day and Boxing Day until 1st January. #lustreglaze #tablelamps #vases #ceramics #landscapes #softpastels #giveartforchristmas http://ow.ly/Ssiw30n3TKA

    shaftesburyarts: "Great for last minute Christmas shopping - Eeles Pottery and Keith Stott Pastels. In the gallery everyday except Christmas Day and Boxing Day until 1st January. #lustreglaze #tablelamps #vases #ceramics #landscapes #softpastels #giveartforchristmas http://ow.ly/Ssiw30n3TKA"
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  • In the gallery until 1st January 2019 - Eeles Pottery and Keith Stott Pastels with their annual Christmas show. #studiopottery #ceramics #landscapes #affordableart #supportlocalartists #giveartforchristmas http://ow.ly/Vb1E30n16tH

    shaftesburyarts: "In the gallery until 1st January 2019 - Eeles Pottery and Keith Stott Pastels with their annual Christmas show. #studiopottery #ceramics #landscapes #affordableart #supportlocalartists #giveartforchristmas http://ow.ly/Vb1E30n16tH"
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  • instagram by shaftesburyarts
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  • instagram by shaftesburyarts
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  • Last two days to see this rich and diverse exhibition - Perguadeo closes tomorrow at 4pm. #collagraph #silvergoldjewellery #cyanotype #ceramicsculpture #mixedmedia #painting #supportlocalartists #giveartforchristmas #affordableart http://ow.ly/HvRH30mSeLF

    shaftesburyarts: "Last two days to see this rich and diverse exhibition - Perguadeo closes tomorrow at 4pm. #collagraph #silvergoldjewellery #cyanotype #ceramicsculpture #mixedmedia #painting #supportlocalartists #giveartforchristmas #affordableart http://ow.ly/HvRH30mSeLF"
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