William and Cindy's Art Club

Last month Love Your Neighbour pals William (72) and Cindy (37) designed and ran a special Social Club.  They delved into the stores of the gallery and curator Kate illustrated the evolving purpose of the gallery and its role in our changing city. After we caught up with the pair who shared their top tips on hosting a Social Club.

Art Club

We first met Willam back in 2018 at Manchester Art Gallery, sharing hours of conversation while creating bunting for our Age-Friendly Festival Closing Party. And in his words for the next three years, “he followed our work from afar.” During the pandemic, we reconnected with William and in Spring 2021, William and Cindy were introduced through our Love Your Neighbour programme. Over the last year, they’ve connected over their shared love of art and this passion built the foundations for the special friendship they share today.

Cindy And William

“During our call today we chatted about our favourite artists, preferred painting medium and we are looking forward to seeing each other’s artwork in the future”, Cindy. 

When they approached us asking if they could share their passion for art with our network through one of our monthly Social Clubs we jumped at the chance to make this a reality. 

The Social Club, which saw us return to the exact place we had met William nearly four years prior, started with a behind-the-scenes tour. Curator Kate took us through the stores and shared the role both her and the gallery play in capturing the heart and soul of our city.

“Our role is to spark curiosity, provide comfort and escapism. We are a treasure chest of the past and share the story of how our values now relate to the history of our city”, Kate.

The group enjoyed creating their own pieces of art inspired by the work that they had seen and they ended as all good clubs do, with a brew and natter in the cafe. 

Art Club 2

After the club we caught up with William and Cindy to get their thoughts on hosting their first club and to share their top tips for anyone who is wanting to create their own club.

What was our favourite part of the social club?

Cindy: It was a wonderful feeling to share art and the gallery with lots of new people. I learned a lot about future plans for the collection and we felt very special being given a curator-guided tour of the archives. Having a good natter over tea and cake is also enjoyable too.

William: Seeing people enjoying themselves, seeing the basement, asking questions, getting a bit of knowledge then moving onto the pastel drawing which was doing something different for many people and they were prepared to talk about their drawings.

The gallery staff were brilliant, came across very well, and provided our small group with knowledge about the gallery very few people know about.

Art Club 3

Cindy and William’s top tips on how to organise a Social Club

  • Speak to Manchester Cares if you have an idea for a Social Club. Don’t keep it to yourself!
  • Be organised and spend plenty of time in the planning phase to make sure you have a clear idea of what you want to do.
  • Work out how you want to present it and what features you want to highlight.
  • Write down all the details and make sure these are realistic and achievable.
  • Keep Manchester Cares updated at every step.
  • Prepare for the unexpected. Have a backup activity planned.
  • Confirm arrangements such as where who and what you need.
  • Don’t forget to write a description for the monthly newsletter to promote your Social Club.
  • Most important of all, have fun! 😊

A massive thank you to both William and Cindy for this extra special club and to Manchester Art Gallery for helping turn their idea into a reality. 

If you’ve enjoyed reading about William and Cindy’s friendship click here to find out more about our Love Your Neighbour programme or sign up to get involved here

Vicky Harrold

Posted by Vicky Harrold on Tuesday 24th May 2022

Vicky is Manchester Cares' Programme Coordinator managing our Love Your Neighbour programme.