For those of you who have never stumbled over the site or have been to a private view in Liverpool over the past seven years this news will be like water off a duck's back. But if you have, chances are you have bumped into Ian Jackson and his wife Minako.


The team behind the award-winning arts blog and website have just announced they are taking a backseat and while the site will remain as an archive and artist's directory from 1 September there will be no more listings, exhibitions, events, news or classifieds. The site won't be updated as frequently with only the occasional mailshot being sent out.

Comprehensive barely begins to adequately describe Art in Liverpool. From the city's major arts venues, to underground spaces, classified adverts for artists, news on upcoming shows along with reviews and picture stories on any given day since 2004 when you have looked at the site it's given you a snapshot on what's happening on the cultural cobbles of Liverpool.

Art in Liverpool launched during the city's 2004 Biennial. In web-savvy 2011 where the likelihood is your private view invite list contains as many bloggers as stakeholders it may be difficult to imagine the impact this site had, becoming as it describes itself the primary online resource for Liverpool's art scene.

Fiercely independent, non-partisan, eloquent and impishly dry and witty the blog had enough of the facts but also great opinion pieces providing a glimpse of the daily sights and delights of the city. It launched just a year after it had been announced Liverpool would be the European Capital of Culture in 2008. Many thought that was a nonsensical decision (some probably still do, more fool them). Quite easily the artworld in Liverpool could have become defensive, turned itself into a closed shop while it prepared for its showcase year. It didn't. Instead it embraced new visitors, demystified the arts, encouraged participation and showed as many people as it possibly could that art was for everyone. You might not get all of it, but at least you could have a go.

At the heart of that sea-change was Art in Liverpool. The walls came tumbling down. With all the fervour of excited teenagers Liverpool's artists, galleries and its inhabitants fell in love all over again. Every man and his cat has a blog nowadays. Back in 2004 this online resource that could be updated within the hour, illustrated with snaps taken on Ian Jackson's camera, fitted snugly with Liverpool's sense that we were embarking on something new. The city had won the bid, the city would be ready to enjoy it. And having your say on an exhibition wasn't just for critics and arty types, it was for everyone. The wonder of having a one-stop-shop listing every single exhibition and arts event in Liverpool truly was something that felt a bit special. It gave the arts their own voice.

Awarded the moniker of 'Britain's Best Arts blog' by The Times in 2005 undoubtedly Art in Liverpool was a trailblazer for the city. It wasn't the first but it undoubtedly had the biggest impact.
Time for the rest of us to up our game.


 Laura Brown is a freelance writer and Journalist