Karen Wroe – Art With A Heart
Introduce your business and tell us what you’ve been up to recently?
Art with a Heart is a not for profit organisation set up by the artist, Karen Wroe. The mission of the Arts Centre is to make the arts more accessible to a wider audience, supporting emerging artists, irrespective of age, culture of background by encouraging participation by the local community, societies, groups, charities and schools in the deployment of a variety of programmed events while contributing to the regeneration of the town centre while.
In addition to the ‘Around the World in 80 Artists’, Exhibition other events by the Arts Centre in Altrincham includes Halloween and Beyond, Abstraction from Life, printmaking as an artform by Eric Baggaley, Tangible Textures by Karen Wroe, Heritage of the Altrincham Area by Altrincham and Bowdon Civic Society, Photographic Exhibition by Jack Henriques and friends and the Trafford Schools Open Exhibition. A very busy and varied schedule. and of course not forgetting the Santa’s workshop with ‘Its a Mistry’ in December.
What makes you different from other similar businesses in the area?
Art with a Heart is an Arts Centre for the community in the centre of Altrincham, providing the link between the pedestrian and the market quarter, but what makes us different is that we are the first to provide opportunities for emerging artists to display their work in a public place. It is all about the Community and making art more accessible to a wider audience in a friendly and informal manner – after all it is not about the sale, but the appreciation.
We are keen to get the art out of the corridors of schools and youth centres and get it out in the public domain, to show the depth and wealth of the talent we have in the Altrincham and Trafford Area.
Being a not for profit organisation helps us to achieve these goals.
What flexibility does being an independent business give you over a national chain / business?
As a not for profit organisation, all monies raised either goes to charity, such as the Around the World in 80 Artists exhibition in aid of CAFT or back into the organisation to support community events such as the Trafford Schools Open.
Not being a commercial company nor a limited company that has to answer to its shareholders we can stay true to our beliefs – an Arts Centre for the Community
Looking back, which piece of advice would you give to somebody setting up their own business today?
Looking back I would suggest crossing all the ‘ts’ and dotting the ‘is’, making sure everything agreed is stated in writing as it is always so easy to make assumptions. But above all be true to your vision and passion. It is all about the drive, energy and conviction that will help you to succeed – without this Art with a Heart Arts Centre will still be on the drawing board.
Adaptability and control is also very to to success, after all it is not always easy to know what is going to come around the corner..
What part does Social Media play in your business?
Without social media, Around the world in 80 Artists Exhibition would no have reached its goal of achieving 80 participating artists from all 5 continents.To be able to bring artwork not normally available to the local community , while raising much needed funds and awareness of a children’s charity, CAFT, that is on our doorstep was only made possible through facebook and twitter.
But more importantly Social Media has helped to raise the awareness and profile of Art with a Heart as an Arts Centre for the Community and the support that it is getting from the local community.
Social Media should not be used exclusively, but be part of the general marketing and publicity campaign, such as traditional media, website and word of mouth. All of these have a key role to play.
In addition to the above point, Social Media helped to raise the awareness in Altrincham of Art with a Heart and the very first exhibition, months before the opening and continues to do so.
And getting to know you and your Altrincham….
Where do you eat / take out in Altrincham?
My favourite places always depend on the type of food I fancy at the moment, for example it I want Chinese, then it has to be Gonbay, Indian then Dilli and a traditional Sunday roast has to be Players, but I always like to try a variety of restaarants, especially the new ones opening – after all it is about supporting local businesses.
Which is your favourite pub or bar to drink at in Altrincham?
Service with a smile and a friendly atmosphere is always something that I believe in and is a must in the places I like to drink. Having visited many of the various bars in Altrincham, the Belgian Bar has to be the favourite – after all who can resist a log-burning fire with a glass of Spanish wine (!) on a cold evening.
Where is your essential must visit shop in Altrincham?
I will regularly visit House of Fraser and Marks & Spencer, because I can find what I want with ease in these stores. They may be a big national chain, but the staff definitely make the stores feel local and friendly.I do however miss the small boutiques and shops that we once had in Altrincham.
What’s been the most impressive new business you’ve seen open in Altrincham in the past 12 months
The Boutiques opening up on Stamford New Road are helping to bring back the quality image to the Altrincham area, but diversity and the community is key to bring visitors and families back into the centre.
In an ideal world What major improvement would you like to see happen in Altrincham?
An improved Market Quarter that reflects the heritage of the town. The Market Hall should be part of the Community.
And if we want to look you up on Social Media what’s your facebook / twitter addresses?
Twitter: @KarenWroe (for Art with a Heart) @karenWroeArtist (for the Artist, karen Wroe)
Facebook: www.facebook.com/kwc.art.with.a.heart (for art with a heart) www.facbook.com/kwc.art (for the artist, Karen Wroe)
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