A historic arts centre is celebrating its 35th birthday and staff are looking forward to it remaining an ‘integral part of Aylesbury culture’ for many more years to come.
The Queens Park Arts Centre is unveiling a special exhibition which combines new artwork with gems from the archives and a short documentary about the centre’s journey.
The story includes the centre scrapping for survival , to buying the building off the council in 2008 for £325,000 and up until the thriving workshops of today.
Artistic director Sarah Lewis, who has worked at the centre for 12 years, said: “Aylesbury is very lucky to have the centr because there are so many like it that have closed down across the UK.
“It’s integral to cultural life in Aylesbury as it provides a breadth of activity and creative enjoyment, whatever your age or background. It’s a wonderful place.”
Irene Scott, who is in her 60s, has worked at the centre since its inception in 1980. She is highlighted as the only member of staff to have been aroud since its foundation.
She still runs an arts and crafts workshop on Thursday mornings.
Sarah said: “I know her class thinks the world of her.
“When I joined, Irene ran a crèche and it was clear how lovely and caring she was to the children. Now, those children have come back to the centre,bringing their won children. That’s because they had such a lovely and positive experience.
“Some people’s perception is that ‘an arts centre isn’t for me’ but Irene is one of the first people you’ll see and she immediately makes you feel at ease.
“She will do anything to help. She is tremendous.”
Sarah is looking forward to an afternoon of celebrations today (Saturday) from 2pm when the film, co-ordinated by Dario Knight, will be unveiled along with the exhibition.
She said: “Dario has worked so hard to get everything together and he really epitomises the ethos here in that every member of staff is so passionate about what the centre does.”