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Farewell to Art in Liverpool?

By Sebastian Gahan

Many people were saddened when Ian and Minako Jackson announced that Art in Liverpool would be updated less often. After seven years of tireless work they feel it's time for a break, although their smiling faces will continue to grace exhibitions. I met them for a chat in the relaxing surroundings of Mello Mello.

Ian Jackson: 'I was always into art, I went to galleries as a kid, but I worked in computing. After I retired I was looking for things to do. I was going to galleries and I realised that not much of the information was on the web. I thought it was a good idea to find out what was going on and make a listings website to help people find out about art galleries in Liverpool' So began Art In Liverpool in 2004.

'Maybe if Art in Liverpool had been funded then it could continue with other people. But given the length of time and that I'm now approaching my sixties it's time to slow down a bit.

In the wake of Art in Liverpool many more listings sites have appeared and continue to appear but as the original listings site, how do they think it has affected the arts scene in Liverpool? 'I think it's helped in publicity terms. Not just locally but nationally as well - we get lots of enquiries from outside Liverpool. Apparently the scene was somewhat fragmented before and now there's a lot more communication and collaboration between artists and galleries'.

Do they have any highlights from over the years? 'The opening of the first Liverpool Art Prize in 2008, which was held at Contemporary Urban Centre. The centre had just opened then, and it was a mega job going around the venue in hard hats seeing if we'd be ready on time. The whole arts scene was there and it was a great show!' One of the most important legacies of Art in Liverpool is indeed the Liverpool Art Prize: 'It was suggested that we do our own alternative to The Turner Prize and Liverpool is big enough to have its own art prize. It's the fifth one next year and nominations are open now!'

So what does the future hold for them? 'We'll be taking things slower; relax more, keep the website going but less blogs - spend less time on the computer! We're just going to see what turns up, basically!'

Whatever does turn up be sure we wish them all the best! In the meantime, look out for them around Liverpool and be sure to say hi!

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