18 May 2012: firstsite prepares for a new era
firstsite, is preparing for a change in leadership following the announcement that Katherine Wood, Director of 18 years, is leaving at the end of June.
The change marks the successful completion of a remarkable endeavour to build a world-class visual arts building in Essex, which opened in September 2011.
During her time as firstsite, Director, Kath brought to Colchester the work of Antony Gormley, Louise Bourgeois, Ai Weiwei and Yoko Ono; and major loans from collections at the Tate and the V&A. Her achievements leave the town with a stunning, brand new visual arts facility, fondly dubbed The Golden Banana, establishing its reputation in the international arts world and providing an inspirational centre for local people of all ages.
Said Kath Wood, Director of firstsite;
“I am very privileged to have had the opportunity to work on this amazing project, and hugely grateful to everyone who has given their support along the way. Having reached this milestone, I feel that this is the perfect time to hand over to a new leader for the next phase of firstsite.”
Said Helen Lax, Regional Director, Arts Council England, East:
“firstsite has gone from strength to strength under Kath's leadership. This has been a significant period in firstsite's history, and one of real success and achievement. Kath leaves behind a strong legacy bringing great and inspiring art to Colchester for people to enjoy. We look forward to seeing this legacy continue providing cultural experiences that will enrich people’s lives.”
In addition to achieving significant critical acclaim from national arts commentators, firstsite has established a healthy commercial side to its business with conferences, facilities hire and an excellent restaurant. In less than six months after opening the new building, it has already received 80% of its first year target of 150,000 visitors, and supports a hive of community and creative activities, classes, films, talks and business events.
Said firstsite Chairman, Chris Paveley;
“I am extremely proud to have worked with Kath and her vision. Everyone at firstsite will be sad to see her go, but it will be an occasion to celebrate a fantastic achievement.”
Kath Wood was appointed Director of Colchester and District Visual Arts Trust in June 1994. She developed the name, firstsite, in 1995, under which she presented new work, exhibitions, publications, education and artist support programmes. The feasibility, business planning and market development for a new visual arts building in Colchester was integral to this.
Kath Wood is planning to take a short break to work on a charity project before taking on new challenges in the next phase of her career.
A new Director has yet to be announced.
For further information and interviews: Contact Peter Richardson, PJR Communications 07778 067614.