Tributes

1

Keith Bayliss, Artist, Chair of Jane Phillips Award & Mission Gallery Board Member
Here at Mission Gallery, we all have a story to tell of Jane’s importance to us as individuals, as arts practitioners and supporters of the arts. The significance of Jane’s achievements cannot be underestimated. In fact the importance of Jane’s involvement in our lives cannot be quantified.

On the day of Janes passing, I spoke with GlenysCour. We talked of the early days, of Dick and Rosemary Wakelin and Ron Cour; of the exhibitions and characters and the hard work and enthusiasm of the artists involved in creating Swansea Arts Workshop. But, for me in 1977 it was Jane I met as I walked into the building, it was Jane who gave me my first professional exhibition in 1980.

That same day, I took the sad news to Jonathan Anderson, Volunteer Gallery Assistant at Mission Gallery. As a young artist, he spoke of Jane’s importance to him as a mentor and supporter of his work and of the opportunity she gave him to realise his first significant exhibition in 2010. These are two similar stories with many years between them. These are two stories out of hundreds to choose from.

Over the coming days, weeks and months many stories will be told of Jane’s achievements and of her involvement in our lives, and with you and in time, we will celebrate her successes and broadcast her importance to the arts in Wales.

Jane’s enthusiasm and her vision will continue here. We will ensure that.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Philip Hughes, Director, Ruthin Craft Centre
As Director of Mission Gallery Swansea, Jane was one of the most dynamic people working in the visual arts and crafts in Wales. Along with her Deputy Director Amanda Roderick, and supported by Mission Gallery’s Board, she worked tirelessly to promote the many artists included in the Mission’s wide ranging programme, she was especially supportive to many younger makers early on in their careers.

Many of you will be aware how ill Jane was and will know how bravely she fought her cancer over the past 4 years. Jane was a much valued colleague – a very loyal friend and with a great sense of humour – she will be greatly missed throughout Wales. Our thoughts are with Jane’s family and friends.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Jenni Spencer-Davies, Curator, Glynn Vivian Art Gallery 
Jane Phillips, one of the country’s leading curators of contemporary art and the crafts, died peacefully on Sunday, 6 February after a long illness.

Jane’s life was devoted to supporting the visual arts – especially emerging artists – and her career was dedicated to Mission Gallery in Swansea, where she worked on a voluntary basis for many years, before becoming its highly successful Director. Before this, Jane also worked for many years at Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, and colleagues here share very warm memories.

Jane’s achievements and her success at Mission Gallery were considerable: her dedication and drive merged seamlessly with her informed artistic vision, her enthusiasm was infectious, always coloured by a warm sense of humour and her spirit, which fought for the rights of so many artists, came directly from her belief in art and her love of life.

Sadly, Jane has lost her life in the very prime of her career, when she had everything to live for. Mission Gallery is a great success and Jane had so much yet to give. The loss for us all is therefore great, and our thoughts are with Jane’s family at this sad time. Jane will be very much missed, but always remembered for her outstanding achievements and her spirited love of life.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Emma Geliot, Editor, CCQ Magazine
Jane was, from the earliest days when it was still the Swansea Arts Workshop Gallery, a powerhouse and a champion of the small but perfect space that became the Mission Gallery. Over the years she set the gallery exceptionally high standards and consistently delivered them, creating a space that not only provided a much-needed platform for the applied arts, but also offered a nurturing environment for emerging Welsh artists and those who were more established but were looking for opportunities to re-contextualise their practice. The Mission was also responsible for some truly innovative gallery education and outreach projects and created a base from which new arts initiatives could flourish.

The Mission, under Jane’s shrewd curatorial eye, also brought in exciting work from all over the UK, to the delight of its loyal and growing audiences. In my time I have walked through a cloud; crawled through a labyrinth; applied a lipstick kiss and spent far more money than I ever meant to in the shop. The key to Jane’s success, and therefore the Mission’s, was in her instinctive respect for artists, her determination to help them present their work in the most sympathetic manner and her attention to detail. She formed around herself a team as committed as she was, who continue to make visiting the gallery such a friendly and positive experience. Just months before her untimely death the Mission finally gained a level of funding from the Arts Council of Wales which will, I hope, enable her successor and colleagues to continue the gallery’s inestimable contribution to the arts scene in Swansea and Wales as a whole.

Feisty, determined, persistent, insistent on quality – these terms could be seen as euphemisms for a difficult character but are, in Jane’s case, synonyms for a passionate personality, whose commitment to supporting artists was unquestionable.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s