The last word ...

(from final newsletter issue, Feb/Mar 2005)

As readers will be aware, after fourteen years Arts Shoalhaven Inc is winding up its affairs at the end of March 2005. This is our final newsletter. Elsewhere in this issue, we highlight some of the organisation's achievements over the years and it has to be acknowledged that the collective contribution of artists and craftspeople during that time in promoting creative endeavours has significantly impacted on the current vibrant arts and crafts scene in the Shoalhaven. It has also rendered Arts Shoalhaven as redundant in its present form.

In my final piece as President, I don't want to dwell on the past. There is of course a tinge of sadness over the demise of an organisation to which so many people have committed so much of their time and energies. But it has outlived its role and I am convinced that we can all be extremely optimistic that arts and crafts activity in the Shoalhaven will continue to thrive.


If there is a gap left by the dissolution of Arts Shoalhaven, it is likely to be its lobbying role. The present positive artistic infrastructure in the Shoalhaven has come about partly because Arts Shoalhaven has been able to represent the collective needs and interests of the artistic community to other bodies, notably the City Council. The many creative groups and individuals that now flourish will, I am sure, continue to go from strength to strength by their own autonomous initiative. But I can foresee situations where the collective voice needs to be heard, where persistent, coordinated lobbying needs to take place. It's my personal view that there remains a need for an independent consultative framework for the arts and crafts which can, when necessary, speak on behalf of the creative community, for example, to funding bodies, to business, to the media and to different levels of government.

I think we can be assured that the arts and crafts community is now sufficiently confident and networked that, if the need for such a mechanism is more widely perceived, it will happen.

Finally, on a personal note, it has been a privilege and a pleasure during my time as President to interact with so many wonderful people in our creative community. I thank them for their support and friendship. May they continue to enrich our lives in so many diverse ways, with wit, imagination, sparkle, quirky surprises, uncomfortable questions, enchantment and humanity!


Martin Millgate

President 2002-05

Arts Shoalhaven Inc