Dear Fellow Artists, Visitors, Volunteers and Supporters,
I write to you with a heavy heart, and knowing that I will never satisfy you, to try to explain why Art in Action is to come to rest after the show in July this year.
You should know that Art in Action is wholly supported by the School of Economic Science, the charity that owns Waterperry House and Gardens. Almost all of the key volunteers who staff this wonderful show are members of the organisation or are connected with it in some way.
The amazing thing about these volunteers is the way they give so fully to looking after the show, looking after you artists and all the visitors. For them it is a spiritual practice. To give with no thought of reward. This is what helps to give Art in Action its amazing atmosphere.
However, staffing the show is becoming increasingly difficult and we need to look after people carefully. A number of the key staff are getting older and it is proving very difficult to replace them.
At the same time, there has been an increase in similar events, many inspired by Art in Action, and the numbers of visitors have dropped to a point where the show has made a financial loss in recent years, despite good weather.
When I first took on the job of Steward of Waterperry two years ago and used to walk around the estate with Bernard Saunders, the man who started Art in Action, he told me that the time would come soon to let it come to rest. I laughed and said, “Thanks a bunch” for landing me with that one!
Donald Lambie, the senior tutor of the School of Economic Science, and I have discussed the future of Art in Action at great length and in detail and this decision was made motivated only by care for others.
As with many art-works, it is difficult to know just when to stop. Sometimes it is the money, sometimes you just run out of time. I am sure you, like me, have sometimes overworked a piece and wished you had let it be. The best time to stop is when you feel like the decision is really not your own but is made for you and it just feels right.
This is the fortieth year since the show started and it is the year of Bernard Saunders’ passing away. It feels right. Although it is a pause, it is full of potential also.
The School of Economic Science will continue to support the arts and my vision is that Waterperry develop as a centre for the arts in the years to come.
Thank you for all the wonders you have shared, the joy you have given and the mysteries you have illuminated over the last forty years.
Who knows what tomorrow will bring.
As for this year: let’s make it the best show ever!
With best wishes to you all,
Simon Buchanan – Organiser of Art in Action