Art in Liverpool Magazine, issue #10: December Editorial

Broken Symmetries, 2018, at FACT now. Photo credit, Julia Johnson

It’s been a pretty big year for Art in Liverpool, given that this time last year this newspaper didn’t exist, and we’d just started discussions about hosting the Independents Biennial.

Twelve months later we’ve produced a four month festival and ten issues of Liverpool’s only dedicated visual art magazine, hired our first ever staff member(s), handed out eight commissions to artists, worked with over one hundred galleries, hosted exhibitions in seventy four of them, reopened Liverpool’s oldest department store for the dedicated use of visual art, and received our first ever grant from Arts Council England.

But now it’s Christmas, my tree’s gone up (I know it’s early, shut up) and I’m off to see Home Alone 2 at Woolton in a couple of weeks. December is always one of those months where art quietens down a bit. Exhibitions are all open, so there’s no excuse not to head to the big galleries to see their final shows of the year, but not many new things are opening.
It gives us time to reflect on our own year, as well as a big year for Liverpool and the rest of the region.

Did you know, the busiest ever exhibition in the city happened this year? Terracotta Warriors of course. Also, did you know that the Giants had a bigger audience than any other event in Liverpool’s history? Or, how about the fact that Independents Biennial & Lost Castles were the first events to take place across the entire Liverpool City Region?

I’m not going to try and evaluate what that means, I just know I’m proud that Art in Liverpool was part of it, and made up that the network of galleries around the region got involved.

St Helens stormed the field this year too, with their 150 programme & Liverpool City Region Borough of Culture title. Titles aside, Heart of Glass, who brought it all together transformed how we see the potential of art in day-to-day life and society. ANU Productions literally used the town as a stage [feature follows], and next week [8th December] the town hall hosts a spectacular light show to bring the whole borough together.

Following 2018’s going to be pretty hard, and I don’t envy 2019 for that at all, but without the Capital of Culture reflections, or Biennials, or Terracotta Warriors, or Giants, it means it has the potential to be a year of propulsion for local artists (for artists, the end of this month’s paper has a guide to some of the key things to apply for in 2019, and a few useful things to get involved with). The annual festivals fill up the calendar with a few more back at their best with extra funding, and year’s out planning for 2019.

But I’ll not go on about that, that’s next months issue.