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

Today should be the start of Alan Booth's exhibition in the gallery, sadly cancelled. Here is a selection of his work. Inspired by natural form he embraces photography & ceramics to express his passion. Find out more on https://www.alan-booth.com/exhibition-2020 #naturalform #photography #ceramics

Here is a selection of the work that Elizabeth Hand would have brought to the gallery for her exhibition this week. You can find more of her art on her website http://www.heritagecourtyardstudio.com or contact her directly by email lizhand2@hotmail.com #travellingartist #Myanama #historictraces

Today should be the first day of Elizabeth Hand's exhibition 'Traces'. Sadly, it is cancelled but you can see more of her work on the website for the Heritage Courtyard Studio where she works. Link below #distantplaces #abandonedplaces #Myanmar http://ow.ly/ScN450yUCXY

Last two days to see 'Mind and Matter' an exhibition of work by Piers Muiry, London based artist. Closes tomorrow ant 4pm. Dreamscapes and fractal mandala's with a nod to Fibonacci show Pier's versatility in style. #monument #dreamscape #mandala #relief http://ow.ly/hfzY50yMeJb

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  • Here is a selection of the work that Elizabeth Hand would have brought to the gallery for her exhibition this week. You can find more of her art on her website www.heritagecourtyardstudio.com or contact her directly by email lizhand2@hotmail.com #travellingartist #Myanama #historictraces

    shaftesburyarts: "Here is a selection of the work that Elizabeth Hand would have brought to the gallery for her exhibition this week. You can find more of her art on her website www.heritagecourtyardstudio.com or contact her directly by email lizhand2@hotmail.com #travellingartist #Myanama #historictraces"
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  • Today should be the first day of Elizabeth Hand's exhibition 'Traces'. Sadly, it is cancelled but you can see more of her work on the website for the Heritage Courtyard Studio where she works. Link below #distantplaces #abandonedplaces #Myanmar http://ow.ly/GDEX50yUCXX

    shaftesburyarts: "Today should be the first day of Elizabeth Hand's exhibition 'Traces'. Sadly, it is cancelled but you can see more of her work on the website for the Heritage Courtyard Studio where she works. Link below #distantplaces #abandonedplaces #Myanmar http://ow.ly/GDEX50yUCXX"
    40
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  • Last two days to see 'Mind and Matter' an exhibition of work by Piers Muiry, London based artist. Closes tomorrow ant 4pm. Dreamscapes and fractal mandala's with a nod to Fibonacci show Pier's versatility in style. #monument #dreamscape #mandala #relief http://ow.ly/HAJ250yMeJc

    shaftesburyarts: "Last two days to see 'Mind and Matter' an exhibition of work by Piers Muiry, London based artist. Closes tomorrow ant 4pm. Dreamscapes and fractal mandala's with a nod to Fibonacci show Pier's versatility in style. #monument #dreamscape #mandala #relief http://ow.ly/HAJ250yMeJc"
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  • Continuing this week and to 24 March, 'Mind and Matter' from Piers Muiry. Portraiture (commissions taken) and imagined landscapes add to the range of ideas and styles in this exhibition. #portraits #dreamscapes #oiloncanvas #painting #mindandmatter http://ow.ly/A5RG50yMex2

    shaftesburyarts: "Continuing this week and to 24 March, 'Mind and Matter' from Piers Muiry. Portraiture (commissions taken) and imagined landscapes add to the range of ideas and styles in this exhibition. #portraits #dreamscapes #oiloncanvas #painting #mindandmatter http://ow.ly/A5RG50yMex2"
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  • Open all weekend including Sunday, Piers Muiry shows his interest in symbolism and ritual in this eclectic exhibition 'Mind and Matter' #stag #fractals #masque #peacock #mesmerised #dreaming http://ow.ly/MTSf50yJ3pY

    shaftesburyarts: "Open all weekend including Sunday, Piers Muiry shows his interest in symbolism and ritual in this eclectic exhibition 'Mind and Matter' #stag #fractals #masque #peacock #mesmerised #dreaming http://ow.ly/MTSf50yJ3pY"
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  • In the gallery until 24 March, 'Mind and Matter' from London based artist, Piers Muiry. Paintings which show the influence of his travels to India. #portraits #lifeinIndia #bodyandmind #mindandmatter #artinshaftesbury #artfromindia http://ow.ly/Bt6H50yJ2dw

    shaftesburyarts: "In the gallery until 24 March, 'Mind and Matter' from London based artist, Piers Muiry. Paintings which show the influence of his travels to India. #portraits #lifeinIndia #bodyandmind #mindandmatter #artinshaftesbury #artfromindia http://ow.ly/Bt6H50yJ2dw"
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  • Last two days to see 'The Winter Visitor' showing the original paintings for a children's book written by Nick Andrew and illustrated by Tanya Hinton. Closes tomorrow at 4pm @WiltshireWild #wildlifeonreclaimedwood #annotatedenvironments #mixedmediadrawing http://ow.ly/MAsm50yAKfy

    shaftesburyarts: "Last two days to see 'The Winter Visitor' showing the original paintings for a children's book written by Nick Andrew and illustrated by Tanya Hinton. Closes tomorrow at 4pm  @WiltshireWild #wildlifeonreclaimedwood #annotatedenvironments #mixedmediadrawing http://ow.ly/MAsm50yAKfy"
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  • 'The Winter Visitor' is a must see and is open every day until 10 March including Sunday. Nick Andrew and Tanya Hinton capture the season in rural Wiltshire through painting and mixed media drawings. #wylyevalley #childrensbook #localartists #wildlife http://ow.ly/tfnx50yAJM5

    shaftesburyarts: "'The Winter Visitor' is a must see and is open every day until 10 March including Sunday. Nick Andrew and Tanya Hinton capture the season in rural Wiltshire through painting and mixed media drawings. #wylyevalley #childrensbook #localartists #wildlife http://ow.ly/tfnx50yAJM5"
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  • Continuing this week and to 10 March, Nick Andrew's recent paintings of the River Wylye on canvas and paper with Tanya Hinton's paintings of wildlife on reclaimed wood. @WiltshireWild #wildwoodarts #wylyevalley #thewintervisitor #artinshaftesbury http://ow.ly/FJIg50yzCid

    shaftesburyarts: "Continuing this week and to 10 March, Nick Andrew's recent paintings of the River Wylye on canvas and paper with Tanya Hinton's paintings of wildlife on reclaimed wood. @WiltshireWild #wildwoodarts #wylyevalley #thewintervisitor #artinshaftesbury http://ow.ly/FJIg50yzCid"
    40
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  • Open all weekend, inc Sunday 10am-4pm - 'The Winter Visitor' paintings and mixed media drawings from Nick Andrews and Tanya Hinton. Their new book of the same title is also available at the gallery. #wildwoodart #reclaimed #oilpainting #acrylicpainting http://ow.ly/6NQD50yzeig

    shaftesburyarts: "Open all weekend, inc Sunday 10am-4pm - 'The Winter Visitor' paintings and mixed media drawings from Nick Andrews and Tanya Hinton. Their new book of the same title is also available at the gallery. #wildwoodart #reclaimed #oilpainting #acrylicpainting http://ow.ly/6NQD50yzeig"
    35
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