One of the aims of the club is to help creative people and projects in the area complete interesting projects. We are putting together a panel of members and associates who, during their careers in media and the arts, have learned lessons along the way and managed to achieve what they set out to do. Or at least a variant of it – few things end up exactly as they were envisaged. The plan is still forming, but in principle, we will invite people who have a creative project already underway to come along and talk to a member, or members of our panel who can give advice, encouragement and generally help to nudge a project forward with the benefit of their experience. It’s not a pitch process, it’s a sort of creative clinic. You may well be talking to an accomplished artist, a seasoned film producer or a recorded musician but it’s not intended to be an opportunity to sell in a project. Sometimes the advice is all it takes for a project to get moving again. More details later.
Our programme of club film nights continues with a screening of 5 Broken Cameras, a first-hand account of protests in Bil’in, a West Bank village affected by the Israeli Wall referred to as the the fence in this documentary. The documentary was shot almost entirely by Palestinian farmer Emad Burnat, who bought his first camera in 2005 to record the birth of his youngest son. In 2009 Israeli co-director Guy Davidi joined on to create the film. Structured around the destruction of Burnat’s cameras, the filmmakers’ collaboration follows one family’s evolution over five years of turmoil.
To view the trailer click here.
Prepare to be challenged, enlightened & positively moved as you experience the infectious creativity of Sherika Sherard. Born and raised in South London, this 21 year old has been gigging for 5 years and has already played at venues such as Ronnie Scotts and Jazz Cafe Camden. This is Sherika’s debut performance on the Island and her first visit across the solent. Dont miss this.
Her rhymes speak with the authority of a seasoned wordsmith within tunes that are destined to become hugely familiar to anyone with an ear for melody and an emotional core. To find out more about Sherika click here.
Unexpectedly large crowds, almost three times recent Film Society audiences, arrived to see the fairly obscure, subtitled Iranian film ‘About Elly’ that the society showed on their first night at the club. Those who watched the film enjoyed the comfort, quality of the HD projection and surround sound at the club. Film Society screenings are open to anyone, but to avoid disappointment at the door, places should be booked by emailing email@example.com Entry to each screening is £5 which covers the costs of the Society’s screening license. The Society’s programme is available at www.facebook.com/VentnorFilmSociety
Ventnor Arts Club members’ film nights are on alternate Tuesdays between Society screenings, free to members and their accompanied guests, places (but not specific seats) should be booked by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Flms programmed will be included in members’ emails.
There will be other occasional screenings announced, some of which will be open to non members in association with local special interest groups.
Ventnor Arts Club is on track to open in February and is now inviting applications for membership on its website www.ventnorartsclub.com. Exactly what the club is and what we can expect to go inside its art deco walls has been the subject of some interesting speculation despite the information being published during the planning process. People have guessed at various uses including film screenings, comedy nights, acoustic music sessions, poetry, art exhibitions, wine tastings and more. The fact is, it’s all of those as well as providing a bar, food, lounges and Wi-Fi facilities where people can meet, network, relax and enjoy mixing with people who share a love of the arts – in the widest sense. However, some guesses have been very wide of the mark; a builders joke alluded to the most popular of the misinterpretations of the members’ club concept. They stood a plastic pole in the centre of the small lounge room before they left the site.
“We’re now in the final phases of installing the electrics, security and AV systems, fitting the carpets and readying ourselves for the delivery of the sofas armchairs before members’ preview events in mid-February” says Stephen Izatt, Director and owner of the former NatWest Bank. “It’s been a process of discovery and one which will continue. During the refurbishment, we’ve discovered an amazing piece of 1924 architectural design along with all of the snags and challenges that false ceilings and ‘70s cladding have been hiding. And when we’re up and running the club, our activities, even our wine list will be reviewed in response to members’ feedback, as we discover their preferences.”
The concept of a club like this is familiar to people in London and other cities around the world, catering for people in the media and creative industries as well as people who enjoy the product of their imagination. During the afternoon, they provide a quiet place to meet, read the papers, check email or just hide away; alone or with friends. In the evening, the lights go down, the bar lights up to serve wine and cocktails, a bite to eat and on some nights, a diverse range of arts based events and entertainment. Will it work as well in Ventnor? Given the number of creative people and culture vultures who live or have second homes in Ventnor, it has every chance of providing a popular haunt alongside the restaurants, pubs and bars in a constantly improving Island town.
As you can tell from our site, we now have our brand identity worked out. It will be engraved on a piece of portland stone where the bank’s night safe was, on membership cards and appear on a variety of items from stationery to coasters. It is heavily inspired by Eric Gill who is responsible for at least one of the standard fonts on your computer and many more things of a much more exotic nature. We expect some of his work to feature in a few paces throughout the club. We are grateful to Mark Norton at Thinkfarm for development of the identity.
A note to thank all of you who supported our planning application for change of use. It was a long and stressful process but we were strongly encouraged by the number of comments and the overwhelmingly positive reponse. We hope that the club lives up to your expectations and provides an enjoyable and culturally enriching new experience in Ventnor and for the Island.
As everyone knows Grand Design projects have a habit of going over time and over budget. Ours is not struggling to be an exception. But the building is enjoying its new plaster, first stabilising coats of paint and giving us a glimpse of how it will look. We’re testing colours, restoring the mahogany vestibule, repairing and replacing deep skirting along with other little gems so you wouldn’t notice. But possibly the singularly most worrying piece of work has been completed. The vault door, all one and a half tons of it, has left the building.
Our first thought was that the vault door was a great legacy piece and as such should be left in place. However, the risk to life and limb it presented was too much of a worry, and it obstructed access to the wine cellar; totally unacceptable. So it’s gone. In a guerrilla operation that resembled the Italian Job more than Restoration Man It made its way up the high street and eventually on to a weigh-in at the scrap yard. But the Vault still retains its character and with unfettered access to the cellar, will not be short of wine.
If you visited us during our trial opening at the wonderful Ventnor Fringe Festival you saw the building with its hardboard cladding, carpet tiles and high but ubiquitous tiled office ceiling. The building was a perfect example of a 70s / 80s cover up.
Building work is now well under way and the first thing that Matt and the boys have done is reveal the ceiling, mahogany vestibule and other original features of the 1924 banking hall. You are in for a big surprise.
All hail to Jack and his amazing team for pulling off a great third year of the Ventnor Fringe Festival. It was ambitious, diverse and full of surprises. One of the surprises was our venue, listed as The Secret Bar; we were treated to lovely, capacity audiences and some great performances.
It was a baptism of fire as we only completed on the acquisition of the property one week before, rushed through an event license application and equipped ourselves to serve our guests with cold drinks on some very hot evenings. Air conditioning is a must in the refurb, but for the four nights of the festival, our new fridges kept the beverages cold and our audiences refreshed. Never has a bank vault been put to such good use.
Thanks to everyone that visited us and a massive thanks to the artists who performed. If ever we had any doubt that Ventnor would accept our intentions for this beautiful building they melted away during a magical set by C.H.A.M.P.S. The audience was engaged and eclectic; a mix of young and older creatives, visitors and open minded locals who lapped up what they didn’t know existed so near home. Tula and the Blackgang closed the week and again, a capacity crowd were spellbound with lilting, lyrical gorgeousness from the humour of Hairdo to a haunting cover of Wicked Games. Loved it.
A performance of The Musical Detective Agency proved that we could switch from music to completely ridiculous comedy and hold onto an audience. If the story of a demon hamster who possessed it’s bounty hunter can do it, we feel sure some of the comedians we have in mind are going to do OK.
Now the work begins. Architects have been in and flooring experts gave their horrible verdict that the 1920’s floor is beyond restoration as the Bankers covered it in screed. We have a ceiling to uncover and a whole building to re-purpose. We will install an AV system for film screenings, integrate a PA system so we can support some more great performances, rewire, re-plumb, install a kitchen, build a proper bar (in the vault) and reconfigure the loos. Then it’s many licks of paint, lots of polishing, new lighting and furnishing the space for comfort with sofas and easy chairs.