GemArts is part of a larger, more established, organisation GVEMSG (Gateshead Visible Ethnic Minorities Support Group). Set up in the 1980s this unique organisation became a registered charity in 1992 to provide support to minority ethnic, refugee and asylum seeker individuals and families settling in Gateshead. This support came, and continues to come, in the shape of positive integration of people into their new community.
GVEMSG has made it possible for people from black and minority ethnic, refugee and asylum seeker communities to access services such as the council, local healthcare and the police, as well as other statutory and private service providers. The work of the charity has helped bring communities together, and given thousands of people a voice in the local area.
Early on, GVEMSG used community arts to support social inclusion and to promote community relations through yearly celebrations of cultural events and regular concerts and workshops. As time went by it became apparant that these events were reaching out to the wider community, creating greater involvement and enjoyment in diverse cultures and their respective arts.
In 2001 a pilot partnership was initiated between GVEMSG and Sage Gateshead as part of Arts Council England's audience development programme. The aim being to execute a more concentrated and focused effort towards culturally diverse art and the promotion of its artists - as a result of this, GemArts was born. GemArts has developed into a sector leader, promoting, profiling and creating diverse arts for over 81,000 people each year.
THE QUEEN'S AWARD FOR VOLUNTARY SERVICE
In 2002, to celebrate HM The Queen's Golden Jubilee, the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service (QAVS) was established. It is the highest award available for voluntary groups and acknowledges outstanding work taking place in communities. The award recognises commitment, dedication and unselfishness, resulting in public service for the benefit of others; normally of a social, welfare, economic or environmental nature. GVEMSG was one of the very first recipients of this award, recognising the tireless work the trustees of the charity had already put in to supporting communities in the North East, and the contributions they make Nationally to develop thier vision of a multi-cultural all-inclusive community, free of fear, prejudice, racism and ignorance. The list has grown over the years, and GVEMSG are delighted to be included alongside other fantatsic charities, and we wear the Queens Award emblem with pride.
To support our charitable work, bringing people together to experience culturally diverse arts, supporting and improving lives, building capacity and offering new skills for those who need it most, please consider making a donation to GemArts here.