Dear Waygood-artists, members and staff, when I heard of the serious trouble for the Waygood Gallery I was really shocked. Regarding your successful work since years on such a high level I can’t really believe it. Because of my work as an artist in different Countries I everytimes made the experience how well-known Waygood in the European-wide art-scene is. I really hope the heads of the Newcastle City Council becomes aware that a Metropolitan-Character of an area highly depends from an contemporary art-scene like it is represented, established and ongoing developed by Waygood. I like Newcastle very much. It is such a wonderful town! It should not become provincial! All the Best! Matthias Schamp
John O'Rourke - Lecturer / Course Leader of a Foundation Degree in Fine Art at Tyne Metropolitan College.
I’m an artist creating works to commission, with very little knowledge of Arts Council funding mechanisms. However, I do have positive experience of Waygood - mainly through my role as a 0.6 contracted Lecturer / Course Leader of a Foundation Degree in Fine Art at Tyne Metropolitan College. As an organisation, Waygood has my support. Jude Thomas, in particular, has been very helpful. Enhancing the student’s research for their Professional Studies module, she conducted a tour, showing them artists’ studio spaces as well as outlining Waygood’s plans for the future - a gallery and so forth. Her talk was excellent and the students (two have been involved in voluntary work experience there) were very appreciative of the morning spent with her.
Upon arriving in Newcastle from France in 2007, Waygood hit my map immediately as one of the main drivers in the magic of Newcastle, where a local, grassroots scene interfaced with an international scene in a mutually productive, organic way. I hope that this essential cultural identity of Newcastle will continue.
The Waygood, when it was still in the town centre, organised some really good discussions.
The Waygood, when it was still in the town centre, organised some really good discussions. I still remember a meeting, which must have been in 2004 or 2005, to discuss notions of ‘popular culture’ as part of the debate surrounding Newcastle and Gateshead’s bid to be City of Culture. It brought together arts practioners, public sector officers in relevant areas, and academics; the debate was both wide-ranging and deep. Both the overall strategy of the Waygood and its location make it an excellent place for this kind of arts/politics discussion. And the Waygood management of that time was evidently inventive and entrepreneurial in setting up such meetings.
When visiting Newcastle from both Edinburgh and Norway where I am originally from, I always made a point of visiting Waygood. I always thought Newcastle was lucky to have such a place, and wish that Edinburgh had such an artist led gallery/studio complex. This is why I could not believe the news when I heard that funding was being withdrawn by the Arts Council and Newcastle Council. A gallery is more than it’s buildings, it’s about the people that run it and their vision. With it’s varied and interesting exhibition programme, the team at Waygood have created something special that should be cherished and valued, not thrown away.
The possibility of one day joining the Waygood community in Newcastle would make me consider relocating from Edinburgh. However, without Waygood, my visits to Newcastle will be all the more rare!
I first encountered Waygood in 2005 in my second year of University when Helen came to talk to my fine art course about the redevelopment in High Bridge. It was great to hear that opening soon after my graduation would be a contemporary artist run space in the centre of town. After graduating I got in contact with Waygood who gave me paid employment at events. When I got offered my first exhibition after graduating it was again Waygood who I went to to enquire about a space to create work. They offered me their hanging space where I developed ideas, rent free for a month, ultimately leading to me creating work that I would have been unable to make without this space. A few months later I got offered a studio space at Waygood in Harkers, where I have now been for 2 and a half years. It may be a cold, dusty old warehouse but I relish the chance I get to spend in my studio and the conversations I have there with fellow Waygood studio holders and staff.
I am now a fairly successful artist in the region and have no doubt that this is down in part to Waygoods support. It will be a great shame if this same sense of support is withdrawn by the Arts Council, as I really believe Waygood is one of a kind.
Bottom line if you don’t trust Waygood to run a building at least let them still do what they are really good at and thats supporting artists and programming intelligent ideas which adds to the cultural capital and ambience of the city. Their vision is in the heart in a building which will potentially left with a hole if you are not careful.
Viva La Waygood. long live its ideology, legacy and reality come what may!
Waygood has brought me fresh and interesting visions of contemporary art over the years and is one of the reasons I am proud to be from Newcastle. It’s organic and non-commercial ethos makes it possible to feel part of something special and unique rather than feeling like an observer looking in from the outside (the way too many galleries make you feel). My wish is that it doesnt change into a big corporate judgemental establishment that stands against everything art should be.
Please don’t use the travails of Waygood as a way of instigating funding cuts through the backdoor, leaving you, conveniently not having to not acknowledge the complicity, incompetence and buck passing of agencies outside Waygoods control.
One of the strengths of Waygood is that it is willing to support artists at all stages of their careers. Perhaps this is because the people who run Waygood are artists themselves and have created an organisation around what artists need, ie community, studios and a place to share ideas.
However, Waygood has become far more than the staff who run it, or the board who manage it. Its legacy lies in the artists, projects, communities and audiences that it has supported over the last two decades. Waygood’s niche in the North East is as a contemporary art locus that reaches far beyond the region, both on a national and international level. It seems impossible that the City Council and the Arts Council could find another organisation with this scope to replace it.
Waygood has a national and international reputation as one of the most innovative, engaged, creative, suportive and productive arts organisations in the North East, if not in the UK.
I have always had the greatest respect and admiration for the work they do and believe that to discontinue support for such an important force for art and culture in the region would be the height of folly.
Graduates of the Fine Art Department of Newcastle University have benefited greatly from the opportunities and facilities that Waygood provide, not just the studio spaces but the advice, opportunities and inclusion in events that Waygood has provided for many years.
As head of Fine Art at Newcastle University and as a practicing artist based in the region I would like to state my complete support for Waygood.
Waygood being ‘put out to tender’? A sincere, well meaning and ambitious arts project should not be snatched out of the hands of it’s founders and awarded to the grabbing hands of opportunists and the highest bidder. The law of the jungle doesn’t ever favour the arts or artists. I wish Waygood could be nurtured and supported by both the Councils, I really thought that was their brief and their obligation.
The Waygood is an important part of the arts scene in the North East. As an artist I've always found the Waygood supportive, approachable and useful as a resource. As a visitor, I enjoy their unique programme and they've allowed me the opportunity to meet a lot of wonderful artists.
Waygood is and can be WAYGOOD……please do not abandon ship will be a FAB addiion to City’s Art Trail……I would love to support and participate in future Arts into Education and Community Work and volunteering opportunities…..Would be SAD to let go of What could be WAYGOOD in the near and distant Future…..Too much love passion sweat and committment has gone into getting WG to where it is today.