By Kate Enters, WITP Founder, Director, and Artist
What a year! In 2016, WITP has transitioned from existing purely as an annual exhibition to becoming registered as a formal business and applying for charitable status. This exciting new chapter has offered solidity and structure to how we support contemporary artists and importantly enables us to continue to provide exhibition platforms without compromise to an artist’s artistic exploration and development.
We finish 2016 with an incredible group of 64 artist members, all of who have formally signed up to engage and support WITP in creating, developing and delivering a vibrant array of exhibitions and opportunities for both themselves and other international artists. This collaborative nature is indicative of the ethos that was behind the first ever What Is The Point? exhibition in 2012. I always have, and always will, believe that individuals working alongside each other create power and opportunity through the exchanging of ideas and information.
2016 has been a brilliant year despite the societal uncertainty after Brexit and the volatile political status internationally. I am personally incredibly proud that through all this the voice of the artist has not been silenced. As Nina Simone said “You can’t help it. An artist’s duty, as far as I’m concerned, is to reflect the times.” — and reflect the times is exactly what WITP has done.
As well as launching the business with a vibrant WITP members’ exhibition at the Clerkenwell Gallery, we hosted our first ever Salon Show at a private residence and a pop up exhibition at 19 Greek Street. 19 Greek Street was also where we held our first debate: The Artists and Brexit, featuring artists and arts industry professionals. These exhibitions and events complemented our annual exhibition, held this year at the Strand Gallery London, and our first-ever international exhibition in Amsterdam.
Throughout our events both the WITP team and the artists involved have actively and courageously shared their art and stories with the public and on the increasingly important social media networks, enabling debate and a sense of unity and communication amongst creatives.
We cannot deliver our programme without enlightened partnerships – huge thanks to The Jerusalem Tavern and St Peter’s Brewery for providing beers and prosecco at all our events this year! And I extend my wholehearted thanks to Tony Chin at Carter Backer Winter LLP, who have donated a year of their time and expertly guided me to ensure that WITP is successfully established. More recently we have been the very grateful recipient of the expertise of Fiona Stewart at Antennae Ltd enabling us to enter 2017 with clarity of brand and mission!
I would also like to thank everyone who has personally supported, encouraged and believed in me. Without who I could not have pushed and developed WITP into the business it is today. Notably Amanda Whittington, Ellen Schwartze, and Frederica Miller, my fellow trustees Brian Harris and Stephen Crampton-Hayward, and a brilliant advisory committee: Lauren Mele, Laura Fishman, Dafni Bampanioti and Aileen McGee.
So what does 2017 hold in store for WITP? For starters: a month-long exhibition in partnership with the iconic Scottish Arts Club in March 2017, a collaboration with the UN for World Water Day, further international exhibitions in Poland, USA and Germany, as well as a vibrant exhibition programme in the UK for WITP’s artist members. We will also launch our educational programme, giving back to the next generation. The voice of creativity will not be silenced and can be used for alternative, rational thought and strength in the face of instability and uncertainty.
We must ensure that we do all we can to cross borders and work on an international level. This year’s Turner prize winner Helen Marten puts it very succinctly: “[T]he art world has a responsibility to uphold an umbrella of egalitarianism and democracy and openness.”
I wish one and all a brilliant 2017 filled with art, love and unity amongst moments of absolute beauty.
Founder & Director
28th December 2016
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