The next shows? The future? More squares? We don’t honestly know, but it does seem talking it means far more to the Arts Council than those who actually walk it do…


Cultivate presents Insert (Title Here) at Shipton Street Gallery, London E2, March 2020 – Emma Harvery (Rebel Girl)

Just got an e.mail from an artist, a very reasonable request, clarity is always a good thing, for the sake of clarity and to keep you all far far away from the turmoil,  here is where we stand right now…

On 18/05/2020 12:08, an artist we won’t name wrote:

> Hi Sean,
> hoping you are well and corona free! just wanted to ask you, feeling a bit confused about this, will there be another 20×20 and if so when and is it on-line only?
> best,

Morning xxxxx, hope you’re well as well. Yes, we plan to have another Nothing is Square 20x20cm canvas show, but no, not on line, never on line, it doesn’t work on line, the power of those Square shows is in the way all the work on the wall is united by the uniformity of size. Right now we don’t know if and when we shall be back with physical gallery shows or indeed if we ever will. The lockdown really hit Cultivate in terms of having to close down and still pay rent in March (I usually fund those month long runs of shows from the sales of my own art, my solo show from the final week of that run in March never happened, the lockdown hit us mid way through). We do very much want to do a third Nothing is Square show but those Square shows will only ever happen physically, it is about the unity and the uniform grid of art on the “proper” formal white gallery walls. We did try it on-line when we had all the art from the last show and it just didn’t work.


Nothing is Square Pt.2, Cultivate at Shipton Street Gallery, London E2 – the art, March 2020

The future of Cultivate is very much in the balance right now, we had hoped the emergency funding that the government had trusted the Arts Council to distribute might help but they point blank refused, telling us that we didn’t need support because we hadn’t needed support before, seems nine years of just about achieving self-sufficiency is really not appreciated by Arts Council England so it seems (I have a very low opinion of the arts council right now even lower than I had before this current crisis)

I would like to think there will be another physical Nothing is Square show when the Lockdown is over and when it is safe to start putting on public art exhibitions again (when we think it is safe, not when the damn government think it is), but right now we still have outstanding bills to pay from the cancelled March shows. We are always hopeful though, we’ve managed ot keep all this going against the odds for a number of years now. We have warned artists to think about more work on square canvas and to be ready to go with very warning, I suspect we might be able to do something at short notice if and when we can, so you artists need to be ready for the invite or the open call element. We will hopefully get back at some point with more physical shows, another Square show, maybe a “Bollocks to the Arts Council” group show, but right now, I’m really not sure what the future holds for Cultivate, we have survived before, but this is these are rather tough times.


We can’t have this kind of thing so say the Arts Council

We will almost certainly do another Cultivate on-line show, maybe in Mid June, the (Far from the) Turmoil show only just opened last Thursday so I’m still recovering, on-line shows are actually more time consuming than physical shows, the “hang” takes longer for a start, it doesn’t cost as much as a physical show, well in terms of finance but the two recent on-line shows did involve lots and lots of hard work (not great on my fragile eyes either)

by the way I did consider asking you to take part in the recent online show, really wanted you in, I searched through your many wonderful paintings but I couldn’t really see any nice clear good quality shots. Next time!

Take care, S x

DONATE – We’re told by the Arts Council that what we do really isn’t worthy in terms of theIr funding, that even though we WERE shut Down in Mid March we’re not alllowed even the smallest bit of support. The gallery up the road is though, the gallery that never opens, the one that doesn’t have any signs outside, the one whey they spend all their time writting wordy press releases and avoiding engagement behind their closed doors, the one where they appear to go out of their way to avoid letting the general public know they are actually there, they can have public funding again and again, but we apprently don’t need it.  All these engaging shows, all these years with doors always open, the couple of thousand artists who have got to take part in our shows, none of that counts for anything. Seem talking it means far more to the Arts Council than those who actually walk it…

If you disagree with the Arts Council and feel like supporting the future of Cultivate by making a small donation to help keep all this flowing that would be delightful, thank you.

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The new on-line show (Far from the) Turmoil can be viewed here

Previous thoughts on the Arts Council can be read here, I will post their reponse later on, it wasn’t that great a response from their Customer Care department or whatever the hell they called it. Seems ot be some very strange trains of thought at Art Counci lEngland whe nyou see who they think does deserve some of the emergency funding! Really? More later –  What is Arts Council England actually about during these days of lockdown? Or for that matter any time? Not the likes of us so it seems, but then it never has been…


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