04:00PM, Friday 18 September 2020
Maidenhead Arts Society (MAS) has received a national award and £500 prize for its impressive first year membership and art programme for young people.
The New Society Committee award was presented virtually to MAS by the Marsh Christian Trust during a ceremony streamed on YouTube on Wednesday, September 2.
The Trust’s awards celebrate the contributions of people who are committed to social, cultural and environmental causes.
The Arts Society is a leading arts education charity with a global network of more than 380 local societies.
MAS was set-up by the group’s chairwoman Marsha Carey-Elms in 2017 after she retired from her 19-year tenure as headteacher at Kendrick School in Reading in 2012.
The Marsh Christian Trust found out about MAS when its committee applied for a grant of £500.
Marsha explained that MAS gives its 250 members an opportunity to attend monthly lectures presented by people who have ‘fascinating things to say’.
“You have a world-class lecturer come to talk about different aspects of art, but this is art in its widest sense,” she said.
“It includes fine art of course, modern art, but it also includes music and drama and furniture and cinema and opera... you name it.”
Marsha describes the group as a ‘network of friendship’ which ‘really has filled a gap in Maidenhead’.
“There are lots of thriving art groups in Maidenhead, and practitioners, and studios and all sorts, but I think this actually provides another service which isn’t currently around, and that is these world-class experts who come along and who are passionate about their subject.”
The ‘network of friendship’ also organises social events, tours, outings, and ‘special interest days’ where a lecturer presents three or four lectures on a subject in one day.
As well as providing intellectual stimulation and insight MAS has also established a ‘Young Art’ programme which supports the development of art in the community.
So far it has supported a choir project at Manor Green School, an art project at Thames Valley Adventure Playground, and a wire sculpture project at Altwood CofE School, which it hopes to extend to young carers in the town.
Organisations which have got behind MAS include the Louis Baylis Trust, Dawson’s Auctioneers, Tony Sheldon Travel and Woodlands Dental Practice, who sponsored a lecture about art in the Underground called Mind the Gap.
MAS would like to hear from anyone who is keen to ‘learn new things, enrich one’s own knowledge of art and make friends’ by becoming a member, and schools which would like to take part in the MAS Young Art programme.
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