While I wish every success to Ian Pinches’ new business venture with his wife at Charles Roe House (Macclesfield Express, February 22nd “New lease of life for historic house”), I would just like to make it clear to our many supporters that Incubation Arts, the ‘local arts group [who hoped to] create a Joy Division exhibition in the house’ as mentioned in the piece back then, is still very much ‘in business’ and actively seeking other similar premises to Charles Roe House so that the ‘Incubation Vision’ for a permanent arts and cultural centre the town can eventually be realised. This will still incorporate the local element of Joy Division’s contribution to world music. Some things are so important, and this is certainly one of them, that they are worth waiting for!
It has to be said at this point, that we in Incubation Arts and thus the whole town, owe an immense debt of gratitude to the previous owner of Charles Roe House, Martin MacMillan. It was his generosity in offering the premises, first to the Barnaby Festival, and then to Incubation Arts for the several years we used it before its recent sale. This enabled Incubation Arts to put on the many excellent exhibitions and events for the town, all of which were hugely appreciated by the great many visitors and locals alike, as comments in our ‘Visitors’ Book’ testify.
And as you rightly say in the article, a ‘lack of funding’ halted our plans for Charles Roe House. Unusually in our case apparently, the funding body concerned said it would refuse to consider even a revised application from us, which seems to have been the scenario for other applications which had failed at that point. This came as a surprise both to us, and to the highly experienced company we had paid to put the application together on our behalf, and who described it as ‘one of the strongest bids we have ever dealt with’.
It is flattering that amongst the innovative proposals we put forward for Charles Roe House in our application for funding, some have been taken up by Mr Pinches, to run alongside his private GP surgery business.
However, and because of the detailed demographic analysis and research which was undertaken for our bid, (with the generous assistance of Cheshire East Council), Incubation Arts now have a wealth of information as a result of our company’s work, and this strongly suggests that Macclesfield is still ripe for such a visionary development as ours to take place. Certainly, the addition of the town centre’s planned cinema and associated retail, cafe and restaurant businesses on Churchill Way can only add to this scenario, and be of great cultural and leisure benefit to all of us.
In the meantime, Incubation Arts has now moved to Churchill Chambers on Churchill Way from where we have several exhibitions planned, and from where we are still in negotiations about an exciting Joy Division project for Macclesfield. As singer Ian Curtis was from Macclesfield, we hope to build on the current considerable interest in Joy Division and New Order being generated by the current exhibition at The Manchester City Art Gallery as part of The Manchester International Festival.
One major exhibition in the planning is a retrospective for the late Jane Osmond, who was a popular and prolific Kerridge-based print-maker, frequent exhibitor at The Treacle Market, and also a much-valued member of our sister arts organisation, ArtsXstra. This is now going to open on Sunday July 30th to coincide with this month’s Treacle Market. Please look out for the banners etc on Churchill Way just across from Charles Roe House.
We are also in discussion with her family to relocate her large and much-loved printing press to our current premises, where we will run courses for the public to carry on the legacy she has left behind. Further announcements will be made for users to ‘buy shares’ in the press so it can be used as part of the co-operative ethos we are determined to facilitate.
In the meantime, as well as seeking larger and more permanent premises in the longer term, Incubation Arts are also looking to expand our Trustee base, and also our volunteers’ group to drive our vision forward. If anyone is interested in becoming a Trustee or volunteer in what still remains a very exciting creative development for Macclesfield, please contact Julie Hamer on email Julie@jahama.co.uk or phone 077823 12264
Jeff Teasdale, Director, Incubation Arts, Macclesfield