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What do I do all Day?

Ann Rutherford

Most mornings I get here at about 9am, having driven in from Settle.

I come into the building through the back door. I do a quick check of the car park to make sure there aren’t any cars that need a ‘Do Not Park Here’ sticker’ If I don’t keep on top of it, the amount of cars in our spaces creeps up.  Although the car park has 29 spaces, 10 of those are for the nursery (at the front) and 10 across the back wall are sold to residents of Otley St for their exclusive use. Once in the building the first thing I do is check the education room. There may have been classes in there the previous evening and one about to start that morning, so I make sure the forms for the tutors are in the folder and all looks OK. 

Once at my desk I quickly go through the emails - responding to the most urgent ones. There may also be messages coming in on the Whats App members to respond to too. 

Ellie is often in her studio early and Mark Shaw who runs the boxing group might have a class in. Mark is only using the community hall for his boxing group until June. There’s no classes in the education room today because the classes have been cancelled due to tutor illness.

I have a meeting with Tony our caretaker at 9.15, about hanging some stage, black curtains in the hall to make the space feel smaller, more intimate and improve the acoustics. The Craven College students, who are performing in the hall next week, start trickling into the hall for rehearsals today. 

At 10.20 our new work experience intern, Magdalene arrived. She will be with us on Thursday mornings for the next couple of months. She’s bright and chatty. It’s great to have someone to help out. The job is mainly meet and greet on reception but I also try and find some other small jobs they can do. Some of our volunteers are young or neuro divergent. It’s important to give them opportunities for experience, broadening their view of the arts and helping them gain confidence.  Once the busy start is over I think today is going to be a quiet one. 

I get on with creating an evaluation document for Kurt to use on Saturday. It will be his last day in the building with the Music Room project group. There are 12 students aged 15 to19, and they are all motivated to gain experience and succeed in music and sound recording in some way. The project gives professional standard tuition in 8 subjects such as sound recording with Ableton and Logic Pro, the business of the music business, songwriting and micing instruments for live sound. The conclusion of the music project is a live performance. This will be on 11th May at 6pm - all are invited. It is an acoustic set with our students setting up, managing the sound, and performing. The evaluation is important both to the people who funded the project this year (National Lottery) and to those who will fund it in the future. 

This project has been very successful. I am already planning the grant application to enable us to run it again next year. This will be to the Arts Council. Craven Arts has ambitions to apply for NPO (National Portfolio Organisation) in early 2026 so we have to plan now to build a relationship with the Arts Council. If we are successful in 2026 we will receive regular income to cover our core costs of wages, building and annual projects. Ensuring financial sustainability for Craven Arts is probably the most important part of my job at the moment. 

At lunchtime I nip out for some fresh air and to buy toilet rolls as these are getting low. I also order a new box of paper hand towels. I have a meeting with Peter Bradbury from Right2Work who is looking for permanent office and workshop space for his group of neuro divergent students. I don’t think this is going to work for us or them, partly because the facilities aren’t suitable (no heating and no running water) and also because I don’t want to tie up our remaining spaces permanently when we have plans to house more artists in the building. 

Back to the emails, this includes cancelling a couple of classes due to start in the next couple of days as there are just 1 or 2 sign ups. Then I do some work on the rota for the Spring exhibition - updating it and sending it out again with requests to fill the empty slots. I send  the evaluation form for the Music Rooms project to Kurt to have a look at and add any questions he may want to. I’ll print this out tomorrow ready for the last session with the students.  Then I email back the tutor about a new class on Web Sites for artists. I’m sure you will be hearing more about that soon. I;m called into the hall to make sure the students stack the chairs away so that the boxers can get in early in the morning, then I purchase a new annual Craven Arts Zoom contract so that we can continue to hold meetings with the new fundraiser that we are hoping to work with. And that’s about it. I make a note to add the new dates for the Social Making class to the website tomorrow. When home I will typically work for another couple of hours or so before finishing for the day.  Tonight I’m going out to Leeds for the Banff Film Festival at Carriageworks and some food at the Northern Monk Brewery Market. Looking forward to that! 


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