Thursday, 14 July 2011

Public Libraries and Art

There were very good talks in the afternoon, particularly Session 3: Culture and Collaboration. Both were excellent speakers who addressed how collaborating with artists and bringing art into public libraries was something benefiting the local communities.  The speaker from Leeds, Catherine Blanshard, and Liz Le Grice, the speaker from Cornwall, had two very different approaches in presenting, but echoed similar themes of inclusion, inspiration, and making a visible impact on people's lives through contact with art.  Blanshard gave a very professional overview with lots of ideas to ponder on and actual projects Leeds is implementing.  Le Grice's presentation was highly personal and deeply moving.  As she spoke I had flashbacks of my trip to the Cornish coast to visit Tintagel years ago.  She spoke of how the rugged, rocky land/sea scapes shaped and inspired artists, and how much the local economy depends on tourists coming to see art.  She talked about a young man, engaging with a public library event on art, shared the story of his grandfather who would have been an artist if not for crippling poverty.  The young man, now an artist himself, was very appreciative of his own opportunities and the chance to connect with art and the art world through the public library, which provides a community meeting space, activities, and access to helpful people as well as books on art, and art itself (in the libraries' collections).

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