Rural Arts Appoints New Director

Organisation welcomes back former colleague, Max May

Angela Hall in front of the Rural Arts Processions banner commissioned by Artichoke Trust and made in 2018 to celebrate 100 years of votes for women.

Angela Hall, who founded Thirsk-based Rural Arts over 25 years ago, is stepping down as Director of the organisation. The position will be taken up by Max May, the organisation’s former Communications and Engagement Officer and a past intern at Rural Arts, who returns to his home town of Thirsk from London. May is appointed with immediate effect. 

Angela Hall, who set up Rural Arts in 1993 with the support of the Rural Communities Council (renamed Community First Yorkshire), leaves the organisation to focus on her own creative work, with exhibitions planned later this year. 

Angela explains: 

“Rural Arts reaches the people other organisations can’t – I’ve run workshops in fields, set up dark rooms in people’s toilets, and worked in army tents with only fairy lights for illumination. I’m immensely proud of what I’ve achieved here and plan to stay involved by volunteering where I can.”

She adds: “It’s fantastic for the team here and the wider arts community in North Yorkshire that Max will be returning to the organisation. He not only has a strong vision for Rural Arts, but also understands the challenges faced by our rural communities and the opportunities for the people we serve.”

Max May, incoming Director at Rural Arts

The paid internship program at Rural Arts was set up by Angela when she founded the organisation and has helped start the careers of over 20 young arts professionals, including Max.

Max re-joins Rural Arts from London-based Access All Areas, an award-winning performing arts charity that works with learning disabled and autistic artists. Max interned with Rural Arts in 2014 before being appointed as their Communications and Engagement Officer. 

Max said: 

“Rural Arts plays a vital role in bringing high-quality arts and their associated health, social and economic benefits to the rural communities of North Yorkshire and East Cleveland. I’m looking forward to continuing Angela’s work and building on her brilliant legacy to ensure Rural Arts is vibrant, resilient and sector-leading.”

Angela, who was recently appointed Artist in Residence at Harrogate College, will first exhibit at her home this coming June as part of the North Yorkshire Open Studios event.

She comments:

“I’m so lucky to have been creative every day in my work here at Rural Arts. I’ve always been an artist, I’m now ready to dedicate more time to my own work.”

North Yorkshire Open Studios will take place over the first two weekends in June - 1st, 2nd and the 8th, 9th June 2019.

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