This page gives some aims and history of Dalkeith Arts as a community arts group.
Dalkeith Art’s aims are:
- To promote and support all areas of artistic endeavour in and around Dalkeith.
- To act as a forum and umbrella group for the many different groups, clubs and classes in which arts activities take place, promoting interaction between them and with the community, and supporting them through publicity and other means.
- To provide an outlet for the many talented artists and crafters in the Dalkeith area, allowing them to display and sell their works.
- To lay on popular events for the enjoyment of the local community.
We rely on volunteers from different arts backgrounds (and none) to get involved with us in committee or subcommittee to promote their particular interests and organise events that will present those interests to the community. We cannot do this without their help, knowledge and skills, so please come forward and bring your aspirations and projects to us, and through us to the community.
A brief history
Dalkeith Arts evolved from the former Dalkeith and District Arts Guild which had been around for many decades (can anyone tell us when it was founded?) as a community group for arranging and promoting various artistic and social activities in Dalkeith. It was especially noted for providing two annual open arts exhibitions in Dalkeith Arts Centre, and for extensive use of the Arts Centre as a community arts location, having lobbied for its provision when the town centre was redeveloped.
Dalkeith Arts has no membership fee, we regard our list of contacts as members. These are artists, crafters, exhibitors, musicians, writers, performers, volunteers and general supporters - anyone who wants to keep in touch and go on our mailing list for email (and less frequently, postal) updates on our activities. We get a small grant from Midlothian Council (which we are grateful for, but which has shrunk in the recent financial climate) and get most of our running costs funds from commission on works sold at our exhibitions and any surplus from any entry charge from events we put on - frankly these struggle to break even. Thus we are very grateful to Midlothian Council that we get free use of Dalkeith Arts Centre for our events - but we do have to book the Arts Centre well in advance since many other groups also use it (we cannot guarantee getting it when we want it). We try to put our timetable in place early to give us the best chance of getting suitable dates.
As with many voluntary organisations' life cycles, the Arts Guild has had peaks and troughs, and seemed to be flagging in the early 2000's when it was reorganised by new enthusiastic volunteers (largely pushed through by Neil Pettie and others) to attempt to revitalise it and re-engage with the community. Its committee structure was altered - with a smaller, responsive "executive" committee and various subcommittees. Its name was changed to Dalkeith Arts Music & Events (DAME) (deliberately to make the "catchy" acronym DAME).
We have recently (at our AGM in June 2015) simplified the name to Dalkeith Arts since we want to emphasise ARTS. The use of "DAME" (for Dalkeith Arts Music & Events) had become common but did not convey what we are about - we often had the question "but what is DAME?" - so we hope our title will reflect our aims. Our committee is constantly changing as the time and energy individuals can give to Dalkeith Arts changes, so we are always looking for fresh committee members. We also think that maybe the committee was shrunk to too small a number to run the various things we do or would like to do, so we are seeking to expand it. Our subcommittees have dissolved. We have bursts of activity (mainly around our exhibitions) when it is much for the committee to cope with, and we need volunteers to help out - but in between there is little for volunteers to do, unless they get involved in a subcommittee to develop some new activity or project. We are also keen to bring in folk with "less traditional" (art and craft) interests to widen the scope of what we do - we seem to have lost our writers, musicians and performance arts folk (we used to have them) so we'd like to hear from you. Do get in touch.
Essentially - if you live in and around Dalkeith this is your community arts group. Get involved and keep it alive and relevant.