Wednesday, August 27, 2008

"Saving Something Golden"

The Olympics "gladdened our hearts". I was more thrilled by them than ever before. There's been sporting prowess to marvel at, spectacle that left us breathless and a sense of pride that's been almost overwhelming. And folk I know are already planning visits to Stratford in 2012. ...
BUT I hope things are kept in perspective. I hope Lord Seb and Mayor Boris (and all the other luminaries) will watch the pennies and make sure we ALSO have coppers for other things.

Take this example: I know St Ives in Cornwall well. I know the special quality of its light. I know its crowded August streets, its thronging beaches. I know the drama of its biting February winds, its freshness in April when air is suddenly scented again and I know its beauty in September when summer is Indian and cliffs are orange with monbretia, when air smells smoky and sky is as blue as a child's painting. I've sat on the terrace at Porthminster in haziest June, listened to seagulls, watched them wheel and squall acoss the bay to the harbour. I've seen grey days and black days and nights when the chill was biting. I've walked on Porthmeor on a golden New Years Day and watched towering waves whip across the Atlantic and I've sat outside the Sloop ( great pub!) in late November and sipped wine and felt the kindest of sun on my face. I went first in my teens and hopefully I'll go last in my nineties; any older would probably be poetic licence!
OK, you've got it. St Ives is my favourite place. And the above raving has been merely a prelude to something I think is worthwhile and particularly valuable in its own special way...

Nicholas Serota (Director of the Tate) said:" "Nothing matters more to a fisherman than having a decent dry space, and for an artist good daylight in which to work" ...
And the picture above is Porthmeor Artists Studios. For years, they've been a special link between St Ives artists colony and its fishing heritage. They're crumbling and greystone, and they fall ( almost literally; they've been there since 1815) on to Porthmeor beach. And now they're elderly and decrepit and in need of help. Their history is illustrious; Ben Nicholson painted here as did Patrick Heron, and countless others painted and drew and sculpted in the studio's lofty spaces.... while fishermen tended nets in theirs. And outside, days fell into nights, while sky, sea and sand were vivid and magnificent... and the sea roared and was at peace and then roared again...
Renovation plans have been drawn up by the Borlase Smart John Wells Trust. ( http://www.bsjwtrust.co.uk/porthmeorrenovaa.html ) Their aim is to restore the Studios to attractive health ...and thence to establish Porthmeor as a hub of creative excellence. Their plans are exciting and the people of St Ives unite in its support.
The Studios need 3.7m. Arts Council England have allocated 1.2m. Talks are happening with other major Funders. Planning permission has been granted.

THIS is a chance to save something special, to assist a project of which we should be very proud...






4 Comments:

Blogger Annie Bright said...

St. Ives is a beautiful place - I haven't been for some years now. I really must pay it a visit again soon.

8:22 am  
Blogger herhimnbryn said...

You are eloquent and passionate about this place it is plain to see.
I like the skylight cut into the roofs.

1:58 pm  
Blogger kissa said...

I too love St. Ives. I could and sometimes even do sit on the roof terrace of The Tate at any time of the year and just absorb everything I see. It is a sensory feast with the colours, sounds and feeling of sun or wind on your face.

3:19 pm  
Blogger Jan said...

Annie:
It's at its best out of season..you can see its cheekbones!

Herhimnbryn:
It's a long way from your neck of the woods.
Good to see you!

Kissa:
Yes, I've sat there. ASa teenager, I used to stay in a house in Clodgy View, right by the Tate?? ( old gasworks!)

5:30 pm  

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