Question over the future of Uckfield Art Trail

An extraordinary meeting is to be held today to decide the future of Uckfield Art Trail as its relationship with Uckfield Festival Association ends.art_trail

The meeting is described as ‘pivotal’ in deciding a way forward for the group which has been part of the festival since its inception a decade ago.

The first question to be asked is “Should the Uckfield Art Trail continue in some form?

Uckfield Festival Association trustees believe the association’s charitable status, along with its ability to secure grants, is being jeopardised because of commercial activities within the Art Trail, ie artists sell work.

Minutes of an association meeting say; “Whilst the Art Trail and the Festival Association are perceived as one organisation, this will affect the chance of  getting future grants. The Art Trail must have its own bank account and charitable status. Otherwise our charitable status will be in jeopardy.”

In a letter to supporters of the Art Trail its founders, Martin Eastwood and Tim Benians, say there was also an issue over a raffle held during this year’s event which ‘in the opinion of trustees of the trustees of the UFA, was illegal’, something not brought to the attention of Art Trail organisers at the time.

The extraordinary meeting at Uckfield Framing Company, which begins at 2pm today (Saturday, October 24), will decide if the Art Trail should carry on, and, if so, decide a way forward. All previous participants in the Art Trail and any other interested parties are invited.

Martin Eastwood and Tim Benians say that If the decision is for the Art Trail to continue, then a constitution would be required and that would lead to other considerations:

  • A name would be required
  • Officers would be elected
  • Would the organisation be an unincorporated body or a company limited by guarantee; who would be the directors?
  • A treasurer would be elected to look after a new bank account. There is money remaining in the UFA account assigned to the Art Trail which would need to be transferred.
  • If the Art Trail continues, would it organise an event during the Uckfield Festival or would it want to organise an event at some other time in conjunction with the UFA or independently?

Tim told Uckfield News: “I’m sure we will enjoy huge benefits being free to set our own agenda for the future, if we get over the hurdle of setting up as an independent charity.”

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