Pre 2012 – LAN was initially set up and run as an organisation, affiliated with Folly in Lancaster, with a Director, Celia Cross and Newsletter Editor Chris Young. In 2011 LAN lost its funding, bringing about some major changes. as the original LAN organisation closed down, making Celia and Chris redundant. Determined to see LAN continue, a small group of working artists enthusiastically stepped up and formed a Steering Group to try and take LAN forward.
A new website was needed to try and continue to digest the various arts events and opportunities around the region but with no funds or resources, it was clearly necessary to make use of free social media and blogging tools.
Over the following year there were efforts to rebuild LAN, including a networking event and two further issues of the newsletter, whilst planning the new website. Gradually many of the original steering group stepped down, due to lack of time or having moved away from the area but a small core team kept endeavouring to take LAN forward, despite constraints on time and resources until eventually only a few remained.
2012 – In April 2012 a brand new website was launched, created by ddsdesign who generously set up and hosted the site at no charge. It incorporated all postings over the previous year, following the ethos of the old, original LAN website by allowing members to post their own news, events and opportunities. In September 2012 LAN was successful in obtaining a Small Arts Grant and with it organised a very successful Open exhibition at Oxheys Mill Studios in Preston, in which more than 70 artists, all LAN members, took part and a number of sales were made on the well-attended opening night.
2013 – Although no funding was available, a similar exhibition was organised 2013 on a purely voluntary basis by a couple of individual members and again hosted generously by Oxheys Mill Studios in Preston. This was another successful event with over 80 LAN members taking part.
2014 – Oxheys very kindly stepped up to offer LAN members yet another opportunity for an Open exhibition in the summer of 2014. Once again, this was organised by, curated and hosted by two member resident artists at Oxheys. Around 70 artists again were featured in the exhibition with another successful opening night. LAN members also were given the opportunity to take part in the Arts Market in Preston, also organised by Oxheys.
2015 – Another successful Open exhibition was staged during the summer of 2015, once again hosted, organised and curated on a voluntary basis by Oxheys Mill Studios in Preston. In order for LAN members’ work to be showcased in the pilot Lancashire Encounter festival in September 2015, Oxheys extended the exhibition so that it would form part of the event offering. Oxheys’ residents held a pop-up exhibition in the Harris Museum & Gallery in Preston whilst directing visitors to the LAN exhibition in the project space in their mill on Stanhope Street. Our very grateful thanks to Oxheys for their support.
2016 –The Open exhibition had become an annual event with the support kindly provided by Oxheys and the 2016 event was as well attended as previous years. For this to continue, funds needed to be raised along with some support from LAN members to help organise and man the event. Similarly, funds were needed to be able to continue providing the LAN website to cover the costs of hosting and renewing the domain name, which have been kindly provided to us by ddsdesign at no charge since 2013.
2017 –Sadly, 2017 was the last year for a LAN Open exhibition, once again hosted and supported by Oxheys, with over 80 LAN members having the opportunity to exhibit their work and many sales taking place.
2018 – When Oxheys lost the use of the old mill on Stanhope Street in early 2018, they could no longer host exhibitions and as LAN had no funds, no alternatives were available. LAN members were however invited to participate in the Art Jam that Oxheys organised for Lancashire Encounter in 2018 and to be included in the Art Map. Quite a few members took up that opportunity.
Gradually however, the LAN website became outdated and with no funds, an online exhibition wasn’t feasible and the free hosting we had enjoyed from ddsdesign for over 5 years would finish at the end of 2018.
It therefore makes perfect sense for LAN to be adopted by Oxheys and keep the connections and network going, albeit in a different way for the future. The LAN website closes on 13/01/2019 and visitors redirected here. Oxheys will contact all LAN members asking them to confirm they still wish to be included and so LAN will hopefully live on.
Read about the Oxheys Art Map of Lancashire project here