The process of changing our status from a Trust to a Limited Company (see recent posts) is now underway and in the hands of solicitors and taxation experts.
As a result our focus has correspondingly altered from concern about the legalities as to how we will use the Dave Pearson building and, to an extent, looking at ways of keeping our costs down. We will, of course, continue to house Dave's work, and the process of cataloguing and ordering his output will remain - at least until the process is complete - at the heart of our work. But its also clear that we now have an opportunity to develop the building in more creative directions.
At present, for example, we normally have one public open weekend each year - the annual Rossendale Arts Trail - and perhaps host one or two school visits, and a handful of visits from potential buyers of work or galleries. I've been aware for some time that, with a certain amount of reorganisation, we could also use the space for other activities. In particular I knew that my friends at Apna, which is 2 minutes walk away in Haslingden centre, were having problems with their own small shop premises, so I asked them if they would consider a move to 54 Manchester Road.
Arry Nessa, who manages Apna, quickly saw the advantages for them - a reduction in rent, a generally warmer and friendlier building, plus becoming part of an existing creative environment. She checked it out with her colleagues, and we showed one or two around - and now the Apna organisation have agreed that they will move into one of the downstairs rooms at 54 by the end of next month.
Work has now started at the Trust so that Apna can soon start holding its classes - yoga, well-being, language and various creative classes and cultural activities mainly for local South Asian women - at The Dave Pearson Centre.
New heaters have already been installed (above), soon to be followed by hot-water and improved storage facilities. A postbox, more security, and a telephone line are being added, and new signs will be hung at the front of the building.
We feel that Dave Pearson would have been delighted to see his old studio sharing its space with a new sister organisation, who will be opening their part of the building to their groups on several days each week. We're also improving the upstairs office so Arry can have desk space. Below Ella is discussing plans with Arry Nessa (seated). All of us are excited that the building will now be used by more people, while continuing to house its amazing collection of Dave's work.