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Format of arts events/experiences

Posted: Sat Jan 19, 2019 6:59 pm
by MrsTwosheds
Good evening guys

I’m not quite sure that I’m in the right place for the answer to this, but I shall launch into the issue anyway and rely on your kindness to point me in the right direction if I’m way off the mark!

I’m part of several small charitable-status arts groups in the small seaside town where I live and all are constantly seeking ways of fund raising. I have stumbled across a company in Manchester which puts on one-off art classes (led by a practising artist) at local licensed venues, and attendees (who book and pay a fee) are encouraged to paint a previously chosen theme (Van Gogh’s ‘Starry Night’ for example, possibly with local variations in the skyline, etc) to the accompaniment of themed music. Materials, etc, are provided. They are also allowed to partake of the odd glass or two of wine during the process and socialise in a ‘non judgemental’ environment.

This sounds a pretty fab idea to me and one that we could really use. Unfortunately, we could possibly err on more than one level here as Van Gogh is one of the few famous artists who has ever graced our town with his presence. I know that it is technically not possible to patent/copyright ideas, but would a similar event (and subject) here be liable to some Unpleasantness or worse, A Big Ol’ Court Case? Obviously, we would need to charge real money apart from the cost of materials or it wouldn’t serve any useful purpose.

Hoping that someone will be able to help with this one.

Very many thanks in anticipation.

Best regards


Re: Format of arts events/experiences

Posted: Sat Jan 19, 2019 8:28 pm
by AndyJ
Hi Sally,

You should be fine as long as you produce all your own advertising/promotional stuff and any instructions for participants, from scratch and don't use the Manchester company's material as a template.

As you say, the basic idea of an event of this sort is not protectable by copyright. There are some business processes which can be patented but I doubt very much if this particular scheme has been registered (it's a long and relatively expensive process to obtain a patent) or indeed if it would even be eligible for registration. Therefore while you may nevertheless receive a nasty response from the Mancunian company, there is nothing of substance they can do about it.

Re: Format of arts events/experiences

Posted: Sat Jan 19, 2019 9:01 pm
by MrsTwosheds
Hi Andy

Thank you - that’s good to know. It’s very difficult to get people to engage with arts projects as a general rule, so it seems an excellent idea to introduce wine and music to lower inhibition!

As you suggest, we will do our own thing with regards to advertising (and I will make a point of not looking at the arts site again, so that I don’t inadvertently use their terms or wording).

Thank you so much as always for your excellent, speedy and sensible advice.

Best regards