AN ARTS collective is hoping to extend the borough’s cultural reach by scrapping its £30 membership fee.
Rotherham Open Arts Renaissance (ROAR) encourages committed artists to practice their craft, collaborate, be criticised and try new things.
It offers studio space to rent, training sessions, seminars, expert feedback and networking opportunities.
Now the organisation is cutting its annual charge, to remove one possible barrier to taking part.
Chief executive Sharon Gill said: “It’s about being more accessible. Because of austerity, even finding £30 can be difficult for an artist.
“It’s not as though we can’t survive without the £30 — most of our funding comes from arts grants and studio rent.”
ROAR members are creatives who take art seriously — not all want to make a living through it, but all want to improve and explore.
Current members include painters, sculptors, photographers, textile artists, digital artists and a theatre company — around 50 in total.
Membership of the not-for-profit group gives them access to its facilities on Westgate and a forum of like-minded friends.
ROAR’s arts experts can also help budding professionals with mentoring and tutoring, though these services may cost extra.
The group, which is an Arts Council member, also enjoys links with similar groups around South Yorkshire and the UK.
“Our ambition is to raise artistic talent in Rotherham and help people make a living from art,” said Sharon.
“I went to a conference in Leeds and said: ‘You really need to look for artists outside the city limits, in towns which don’t get the funding you do.’
“Art in Rotherham is very promising — there’s a lot going on, but it’s mostly local in scale.
“We want to raise people’s ambitions through co-operation.”
For more information on ROAR, visit www.rotherhamroar.com.
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