Bridget Long, Chair of Trustees
Bridget came to Reading to study design and typography at the University of Reading in the 1970s. Reading was quite a different place then and her first impressions were that the centre of the town was ‘lifeless, especially in the evenings’. Bridget now runs her own information design consultancy in Reading with her partner, David. After meeting Suzanne at Jelly’s first home in Minster Street, she went on to co-curate the Mermaid exhibition in 1995. Bridget is passionate about communication and how it extends into art and design. Much of any available spare time is spent with her four grandchildren, but she also enjoys going to an eclectic mix of art events, locally and further afield. ‘My Jelly vision? Jelly is about opening up possibilities and making connections in the expressive arts, across all ages and parts of the community. It’s for Reading stakeholders – for people who perhaps don’t perceive themselves as artists…’
Jim Attewell, Vice Chair of the Trustees
Educated at Reading School, Jim belongs to the class of 1963. He joined a local firm of surveyors, estate agents and auctioneers at a time when they auctioned furniture and Christmas turkeys on Friar Street and in Merchants Place. He became a partner in the early 1970s and helped grow the business till the late 80s when the firm was sold. Pausing for thought, he decided to channel his creativity into an art foundation course, followed by a degree in fine art at UCA Farnham. He later became, and remains, a consultant for Haslams, Reading’s longest established estate agents, who are committed supporters of Jelly, Reading Museum and the Whiteknights Studio Trail. He is a practising artist and a trustee of the Reading Foundation for Art. Jim has four children and seven grandchildren living in the local area. He remains passionate about providing places in Reading where art and artists can flourish, and continues to play a central part in our ongoing search for a long-term home for Jelly.
Caroline Damon, Trustee
Caroline is the newest member of the Jelly board, joining in 2006. Having moved to Reading in 2003, she attended the Art at the Centre event in Forbury Square with Bridget and was immediately hooked on the buzz Jelly gave her. Caroline spent much of her life as an art director in advertising. Having children put a whole new perspective on life and Caroline decided to go back to school – first taking a Masters at the University of Reading and then training to become a design technology teacher. She now works at St Joseph’s College in Reading. ‘Jelly gives young people and old people alike the opportunity to try out art for themselves, whether they are observers or getting stuck in. I find the whole thing inspirational’.
Mary Genis, Trustee
Mary’s parents came from Trinidad to England to open up opportunities for their daughter. The list of Mary’s accomplishments is testament to this decision. Mary is a musician, in particular promoting and supporting steel bands. She has been a fashion designer, performance artist, publisher (of the magazine, Boom), model, muse and has even had a rock opera written for her. She has called Reading home for the major part of her life and sees the ‘intensity of creativity, talent and cultural diversity’ that this town and its surrounding areas has to offer. Her desire to work with others lead her to a job as arts development officer which, in turn, lead to a job with the Arts Council. She has been on the board of Jelly since its early days. She sums up why: ‘Jelly will continue giving artists the opportunity to express themselves and develop their creativity in unusual places with like-minded people’.
Steve Hicks, Trustee
Apart from a year spent travelling the world, Steve has always lived in the Reading area. He brings his extensive expertise in business to the Jelly board. His own family business is property development and, as an organisation with ‘no fixed abode’, his knowledge and advice has proved invaluable to Jelly, time and time again. Steve first heard of Jelly when it occupied space in Broad Street. ‘I have always been interested in Art and have seen this through the design side of property. I have seen what art can do to a blank space, to a non-descript house’. After Broad Street, Steve saw Jelly move to the Oracle and at this point he started buying art. When new premises were needed he helped with the transition and then joined the board. Steve’s vision is that Jelly should continue ‘to link the corporate world with the arts and to provide space so that artists have opportunities to sell original pieces’.
Suzanne Stallard, Founder of jelly / Artistic Director
Suzanne is a visual artist who was born in Reading: raised on the Dee Road Estate. After being told at school that it was the last thing she should do, Suzanne pursued a career in art. Her determination and passion have proved a potent combination. Inspired by her time studying in Bristol, and what she saw happening there, Suzanne founded Jelly Leg’d Chicken on home turf in 1993. ‘I knew I liked to work with other people… there was nowhere to go if you wanted to experience art’, Suzanne recalls. ‘I chose the name because I was keen it didn’t sound like a gallery’. The name was later simplified to just Jelly, but the ethos stays the same: complete and welcome inclusion for all in the creative arts, no matter what age or background.
The Board would like to thank Salvo Toscano for shooting us.