Globe Gallery, where to begin, at the beginning I guess. My introduction to ‘Globe World’ was, perhaps, seventeen years ago. Still in its original incarnation on a street corner in North Shields. My son, Ben, was to show a piece of his artwork in the latest exhibition. I was there for part of the installation and later preview, certainly not realising I would soon become involved with the gallery, changing my life from then on. What first drew me to volunteering was the friendliness of all involved, feeling comfortable, that I belonged, followed quickly by the energy generated by the group, that the unspoken ethos was for the good of all, not centred purely on art, but an environment where everyone was welcome, able to express themselves, take part, valued – appreciated.
Back then I’d no thought of becoming a volunteer, didn’t cross my mind, a busy life at home, work and socially, but soon after catching the Globe bug. I come from an art background, a graphic designer by profession, my immediate family are all artists, so a little like “taking coals to Newcastle?” It was anything but, there’s a deep sense of being part of a team, for the greater good, working, joying, absorbing the enthusiasm of those around me, a sense of achievement.
After a lifetime in graphics, my time here has taught me more about the arts and helping in a community. For me it’s quite addictive, the atmosphere, working with a group of like minded folk, all ages, from all walks of life, pulling together. There’s a camaraderie and strong sense of worthwhile endeavours. Yes, I use my life long art skills, but have drawn on many other abilities and every day skills to help complete the projects at hand. When necessary I’m a dab hand at tidying up, especially when we find ourselves minutes away from an opening, scooting around with a vacuum cleaner, dustpan and brush, or even a pot of paint and a brush.
As is life in the arts, certainly in recent years, one has to adapt, not least funding, occasionally the lack of, moving forward has become more difficult, but those demands have always been met. We’ve relocated over the years, the majority of our volunteer force moving with us. For me it’s certainly the folk, a band of people, to paraphrase the eighties American sitcom ‘Cheers’, “where everyone” knows your name.”
Our most adventurous move was to the old Co-Op Bank building, on Blandford Square in Newcastle. So much space, over four floors, including basement. Ben, my son, was honoured to be the first “up and coming young artist” gifted a studio in Globe, where he and I spent a year, many joyous hours, my becoming a happy and content troglodyte, cataloging a collection, helping with a number of projects, ascending to the upper floors for the occasional coffee, joke and conversation. Happy memories. A tremendous achievement, converting a disused bank into a world class gallery, with a large team of volunteers, including professionals willing to donate time and expertise for the greater good.
The social life aspect is strong, not just at times of celebration; previews, openings etc. We can get together during and after our days, including catching up with volunteer friends who have moved on.
Globe has always gone the extra mile to achieve its goals, plans are innovative, with imaginative ideas to accompany events. Exhibitions have been numerous, with local, UK and international artists, but always that close and most important connection to community, needs and desires, providing a caring helping hand for those on a life journey.
It’s always a pleasure at the end of the day to experience that sense of achievement, a job well done. It’s been quite a ride and continues to be delightfully so.