What it's like being a Council member with Jade Boylan

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Jade Boylan is a local artist, designer and member of the Isle of Man Arts Council. Jade works full time from her home in Maughold running her own small business called the Candy Doll Club, an online shop selling pins, patches and other products featuring her illustrations and designs to customers all over the world. Jade joined the Arts Council in September 2019 after applying over the Summer when we issued a callout for a visual artist to join the council.

Q. How have you found your first year on the Isle of Man Arts Council?

I’ve really enjoyed it. I was fortunate that I had a few strategy meetings to help me get the hang of things before my first funding round, which is where the most important decisions get made. The Arts Development team and other council members have all been really helpful and welcoming, making sure I understand everything that comes up in the meetings as well as answering any questions I might have about how things are done. It has been wonderful to learn more about so many of the island’s creatives, although I joined the council mainly for my knowledge pertaining to the visual arts, I am a keen fan of the local literature, music and performing arts scenes so it has been nice to connect more with these areas of the arts as well.

Q. How vital a role do you feel the Arts Council plays in the wider artistic community?

Until I joined it myself I don’t think I truly realised just how integral the Arts Council is for supporting local creatives. Obviously I knew that the council helped fund a lot of the island’s arts festivals, performances and projects but until I got to meet with prospective applicants at a council drop-in and read through the incoming applications for funding, I hadn’t fully grasped just how important the work is that the council does. Not only helping local creatives bring their projects and ideas to life but also constantly supporting the arts in general and promoting the incredible wealth of creative talent that we are lucky enough to have here on the island.

Q. What kind of commitment is involved as a Council member?

The meetings themselves are only once a month or so depending on the time of year unless there’s a funding round due, in which case there might be a few meetings closer together to cover all of the applications. Prior to lockdown the most meetings i’d had in one month was three but that was for a funding round. Since lockdown it has actually been really nice getting to check in with the arts development team and other council members via zoom meetings. Meetings can admittedly go on for a few hours but we always have a lot to cover, especially if any funding decisions are being made. So you do need to have enough free time available to dedicate to something like this.

Q. You are a well-known figure on the island due to your illustration and graphic design business, how do you feel this unique perspective contributes to your role as Council member?

I hope that it helps me engage with and relate more to those creatives applying for help with their businesses or selling their art. These are things that I have over ten years of experience with so I can quickly assess whether or not estimated costs seem accurate, and even help point an applicant in the direction of a different manufacturer, printer or supplier to help them save money. I actually joined the council because I wanted to have a more active role in the local art community and it has been great connecting with more local creatives over the past twelve months.

Q. What sort of challenges have you faced in your role and how did you overcome them?

As an autistic woman and someone who has worked mainly by herself for years, I was initially a bit worried that I might not deal very well with the group element of the council meetings, but on the contrary I really enjoy getting to discuss applications and creative projects with the council and arts development team as a whole. In fact since I spend most of my time at home working alone at my desk, I actively look forward to council meeting days when I get to hang out with a bunch of other creative minds.

Q. What kind of advice do you have for those wishing to apply to the Council?

Don’t be afraid to give it a shot, if you’re a local creative who thinks that they would like to be a part of the council and are willing to commit the time for meetings and panels, then I encourage you to send in an application. When I applied last year it was because I wanted to engage more with local creatives and despite being 28 at the time, I felt as though I had the necessary skills and experience within the visual arts to offer the council as well as the sufficient free time available to dedicate to such an organization. If you are passionate about the island’s creative arts scene and want to help promote it even further, then you just might be what the arts council is looking for.

We are currently seeking applications for new Council members. Find out more information about how to apply here. Deadline 26th June.

If you'd like to chat to one of our team you can do so via iomarts@gov.im or call us on 694598.

A sponsored body of
The Department of Education, Sport and Culture
Rheynn Ynsee, Spoyrt as Cultoor
Isle of Man Government
Reiltys Ellan Vannin
Isle of man Government