In February 2016 Arthur Brooker came to the newly established Ideas Lab with a very simple idea: to put on an outdoor art exhibition in town centre locations that would literally ‘break out of the gallery’. Little did he know what he was letting himself in for over the next six months and what would be involved in realising his ‘simple’ idea.
Below, in his own words he reflects on the highs and lows of the experience and what he might do differently next time.
I am really pleased with the outcome of the project, and feel proud that I was able to fulfill the brief I originally set out to achieve. I am very grateful for the support of others I have had throughout the process.
We had a great response from Pembrokeshire artists, with work from over 20 brilliant artists. The project was a great way to promote local artists and all those involved really appreciated the opportunity to have their work displayed in such a public way.
I was really pleased with the way that the public responded. In this sort of project where the aim is rejuvenation for our town it is vital to get the public involved… by empowering the people of Haverfordwest we empower the town itself.
We made a decision once the paintings were installed to throw a Closing Party and Auction. The event went fantastically, with several solo musicians agreeing to play for free and Jessica from the Yeoman supplying a bar. This enabled the event to be a great success, not only to cover our costs, but also raise £1000 for the next project.
Doing this has highlighted that Pembrokeshire not only needs, but wants, events like this to happen. Everyone who I interacted with throughout the whole process was thrilled to see artwork brightening up the town.
Having had such a positive response, I was also amazed that none of the artwork was vandalized in any way shape or form! Many people thought that this would be a major issue. I was thrilled to be able to prove them wrong and restore some faith in the people of Haverfordwest. I intend to continue the project as an annual event, that may become bigger and better year by year!
In the future, I need to allow for wages to cover my time and labor, and that of others who work closely with me on the project. Making BOOTG happen required a lot of man hours and hard work, to attend meetings, deliver boards, pick up paintings, frame and hang the paintings and the huge amount of admin work involved, which by the end was exhausting both physically and financially! Despite being completely broke – and broken – by the end of the project, I still feel it was completely worth it and I look forward to doing it again next year! – Arthur Brooker
A selection of pictures from the opening night, which took place during Haverfordwest Festival Week on a beautiful balmy evening and attracted more than a hundred people, including the artists, their family and friends as well as past and current Haverfordwest Town Mayors.
Here is a selection of the more than thirty artworks selected from the 21 artists who submitted work.