Statement from Arts in Liverpool:
Following discussions with Liverpool Biennial and many concerned artists, Art in Liverpool have decided to postpone Independents Biennial 2020 until next year.
We have been waiting for all parts to be fully sure that this is the right call before we announced this decision as we know it will affect artists in the short term. As an organisation, Art in Liverpool is proud to support local artists and independent spaces and we will be doing all we can throughout 2020 to do just that.
Over the last few years, since Art in Liverpool became a company, then a newspaper, then began producing one of the most wonderfully human festivals the region knows, we have always been looking towards the future. Right now, in a highly uncertain time, that future is difficult, for myself as director, for the freelancers we work with, and for the artists we have been in discussion with.
We had planned on announcing a string of commissions last month, as well as calls for spaces (including more free studios) and we intend to honour each and every one of them despite not yet having opened the calls or made them public. They total around £15,000 of artist fees in collaboration with other organisations and, with additional bursaries for artists on income support – a figure we sadly anticipate being higher in the new year. They will all be announced individually next year, but we felt it important to make it clear now.
The heart of Independents Biennial has always been the unpredictability caused by giving space to artists and seeing what happens. We made the decision when we took the festival over in 2018 that we were facilitators, not producers. It’s a festival run by a magazine, which probably tells you everything you need to know… We want to see what others do, without us meddling, so we find space, we hand it over, and incredible things occur.
So 2021 will not be a response to the COVID-19 emergency. By then we’ll have had more than enough of that. It will be a festival of local visual art, by local visual artists, supported with every penny we can get our hands on and every ounce of energy we have, at every level of our organisation, and that of our partners (who are going to be busy enough).
As a brief note, it’s also worth mentioning what’s going on with Art in Liverpool, as I’ve had a steady stream of enquiries about the newsletter, and why we’ve been so quiet over the last few weeks. It’ll be back next week, with articles and opportunities rather than events [though I have just had a look through our outstanding emails and know there are some digital classes which will be listed over the coming days and included].
It’s been a difficult year for us, and will no doubt get worse before it gets better, but I wanted to make this statement as clear as possible now we’re able to share the news: Independents Biennial will happen next year. There will be no loss of earnings for artists as a result; Art in Liverpool will be here until the world is sick of us.
We’ll keep you all updated as soon as we can, but we’re working around the clock to keep afloat, s for your own peace of mind, check in with Liverpool Biennial for announcements on decisions which will come a little earlier than they do from us. If you’re an artist working in the region and want more information please, please, please, just get in touch and we’ll do our best.
Please stay safe, stay well and, most importantly, stay connected to those around you. These are difficult times, but we all have more time to talk.
With love and best wishes, Art in Liverpool.