Sixteen societies, including nascent Coventry, were represented at the latest meeting of chairmen and committee members from the West Midlands Area at the Edgbaston Golf Club on 15 October.
Following the routine agenda items our first guest speaker, Liz Dancey, updated the meeting on The Birmiongham Project which Liz has been steering during the past three years in creating Trails of Discovery at non-Christian places of worship. "It has been a challenging but rewarding project", said Liz, "but we have now produced attractive worksheets for visitors to three establishments in the area: the Gurudwara in Handsworth, the Shri Venkateswara (Balaji) Temple in Tividale and Singers Hill Synagogue in Ellis Street, Birmingham."
Next, we learned about the overseas societies in the Antipodes from guest epeaker, Pamela Elder who is The Arts Society's Overseas Are Representative (Australia and New Zealand).
The afternoon session was opened by WM Area Vice-chairman, Rob Hubbleday, who dwelt on concerns over the decline in arts-related teaching in state schools and possible ways in which The Arts Society might be able to help. This was followed, logically, by a presentation by Helen Frost, Senior Programme Manager for Artsmark at Arts Connect, which precipitated a lively exchange of views from which it was clear that many children today, sadly, have not been introduced to the world of art in the way we were at school. But help is available through Artsmark and societies might wish to consider a form of sponsorship to help a particular school with funding assistance.
Overall. it was an interesting, enjoyable and productive day.
Helen Frost explaining the Artsmark process