Calling all artists…

Art 4Those of you who tuned in to me guest-presenting the ‘Our Mill Road‘ show on Cambridge 105 earlier this month will have heard me mention an exciting new community art project that’s being organised by Ceri Littlechild…

There are hoardings outside a currently vacant piece of land on Mill Road – near the Spar shop at No.301 – and although the land is already earmarked for development and the hoardings will be removed at some point, they could be improved in the mean time and made to look nicer. Ceri has been in touch with the current landowners and spoken to them about the possibility of running an art project to decorate the hoardings. They have agreed in principle though have asked for potential designs for the hoardings to be submitted, before final approval. The group is also waiting to hear if they will be able to use the other nearby hoardings which are owned by the Mosque Project.

Mill Road hoardings

Seven lead artists are needed for the project, with each working on between five and ten of the hoardings. The work of each lead artist would involve:

  • Identifying a local community group to engage in the design process (ASAP). This should preferably reach out to a diverse range of people, including local school children, minority groups, the disabled, elderly, or those with a local interest or connection. Applicants must have the appropriate certification to be able to work with children or the vulnerable.
  • Arranging one or two (as appropriate) half day workshops with that community group to sketch out 2 or 3 designs for the relevant section of the hoardings (October/November 2013)
  • Once the designs have been submitted and a final one picked by the owners, the lead artists will be responsible for conducting the installation of the art work. This part should be carried out by professional artists only, rather than involve the community group, unless lead artists have the required insurances. Lead artists may want to recruit additional volunteer artists to help (December 2013 or January 2014).
  • It is expected that the total time commitment would be 1-2 days arranging workshops, another 1-2 days carrying out the workshops and up to five days for the art work installation (depending on the medium used and any additional voluntary help).

It is hoped that there may be the possibility of getting some funding or a grant to run the project, so that lead artists can be paid for their time and materials, though this isn’t yet guaranteed.

Art 2Mill Road is a multicultural and diverse community and the art work on the hoardings should celebrate that and not cause offence to any particular group. People can use a variety of cultural references for inspiration. The work can be in any medium (i.e. print, post-up or paint), but the installation is subject to final agreement and permission from the land owner – and no painting should take place until that permission is granted. Although a date for removal of the hoardings has not yet been given, they could potentially be removed as early as June 2014 – so there is a need to begin the project soon and work on it over the winter.

This is a great opportunity to get involved in a local project and see your artwork adorning Mill Road! If you’d like to apply then please email Ceri with your name, contact details and your relevant experience/CV by 5th October: millroadcoordinator@gmail.com.

Romsey Art Festival

Romsey Art Festival posterThe first ever Romsey Art Festival starts on Saturday and will run until 17th August. The idea for the festival was developed by a group of artists at Cambridge Art Salon last year and over the last few months they have been busy organising and co-ordinating a whole host of events to run across the fortnight – including art activities, exhibitions and a market, as well as poetry, film screenings, music, workshops and talks.

Art Market PosterThis Saturday looks set to be the main day of activity, with events taking place throughout Romsey and along Mill Road. There will be an Arts & Crafts Market organised by LittleBiggs – local artists Ceri Ann Littlechild and Dan Biggs – featuring jewellery, ceramics and various art works for sale, as well as portrait artists on hand on the day and also a live mural painting which everyone can join in. The market runs from 10am until 3pm at Hope Street Yard and there will also be food stalls there courtesy of local ice cream extraordinaire Jacks Gelato and burger experts Steak & Honour. A little further down Mill Road you can find Cambridge Cinema Shorts presenting films at Romsey Labour Club, including a children’s screening at 11am and a 15+ screening at 2pm. There’s also a Bento Workshop at the Junction from 12-3pm and a Creative Writing Workshop run by Patrick Widdess at the Bath House on Gwydir Street from 2-5pm; and if you missed the recent Cambridge Open Studios exhibitions then you can catch artists Susie Olczak & Harry Gray hosting their own open studios at 53a St Philips Road from 10am-5pm.

Shindig closing partyDr Doodleys Drink & Draw is a fortnightly meet up for local artists which started last year, and on 6th August Sa’adiah Khan will be hosting their next event – ‘Collabradoodle’ will look at challenging ideas of control and restraint in art and is at Hot Numbers from 7-9pm. The Cambridge Map Project will also be hosting various events (see the festival blog for more info and a full list of events) and if you’re planning to head down to the festival then do keep an eye out for new art works popping up around you – the event organisers were recently looking for residents and groups to donate the walls of their buildings for art. Rounding off proceeedings on 17th August will be a special closing party, hosted by Shindig. If you haven’t heard of Shindig before it’s a collaboration of alternative music, arts and entertainment and they host regular nights across Cambridge, including Mill Road. The closing party will be held at St Philip’s Church on the corner of Thoday Street, 8-11pm.

It looks like there’ll be plenty going on and lots of new things to try – I love Japanese food and really want to go along to the Bento Workshop, but it’s on at the same time as the Creative Writing Workshop, and the Art & Craft Market… decisions, decisions!

Coffee & Collage

Yesterday evening I went along to the fortnightly Drink & Draw session at Hot Numbers cafe on Gwydir Street. I’m quite creative but I usually do my ‘creating’ at home and hadn’t been to any kind of open session like this before, so wasn’t quite sure what to expect. But I needn’t have had any trepidatory thoughts as everyone was friendly and welcoming. This was the fourth Drink & Draw session and they were the idea of local artist Emmanuel Martin.

Penguin collageThe theme for the evening was collage and was introduced by local artist Dan Biggs. Everyone was asked to bring scissors, glue and some old magazines (or whatever bits and bobs we had that could be collaged) and we were all given a blank greeting card upon which to make our collages. I think everybody chose to make a card, but there was certainly no pressure to – people can just turn up and draw/create their own thing or even just socialise with others. I decided to make a penguin shaped collage and set about cutting out all sorts of colourful pieces from the magazines I had bought along – the knack seems to be in the cutting and arranging of your collage before you do any glueing. Everyones creation was different and there were some great designs.

Collaged greetings cardsMost of us gave the cards we made to Hot Numbers to sell. I hadn’t expected my penguin to make the grade, but I popped in this afternoon to meet a friend and while in there someone bought my card! But there’s still a few left if you would like to buy one. Most of the cards were left blank (so you can add your own greeting) but tomorrow is the last day before Christmas for first class post, so if you’re looking for a festive card then do pop down to Hot Numbers tomorrow. Although it’s called Drink & Draw, you don’t have to be an artist to join in – it’s open to everyone (and there’s no need to book – just turn up on the night). I really enjoyed the company and creativity last night and will certainly be going along to Drink & Draw again – and not just because of the post-collage trip to the Dev!

The next Drink & Draw will be at Hot Numbers on Tuesday 8th January, 7-9pm. The theme is tattoo art and will be hosted by Vic Cristea from Mill Road’s Tattoos by Fabio

Art and soul of Mill Road

When I first heard about a new local art project, Show Me Your Art, last week I was very excited indeed – for three reasons. Firstly, the project sounds like a fantastic idea as it will give art a rightful place in the middle of our community. Secondly, the project is being organised by Cambridge resident and market trader Frank Rowsell – I know Frank and I think he could be just the man for the job; and thirdly it really inspired me to get creative – I enjoy painting and creating various crafts, but have often thought ‘what’s the point?’ because I just don’t have the space or platform to show my creations to the world.

Show Me Your ArtFrank believes that artists should have their talent recognised and he wants to involve the community, including schools, in his project ‘Show Me Your Art’. The project aims to bring art into the local community by creating a gallery and exhibition space on Mill Road, as well as an interactive website for artists to display and talk about their work and share ideas. Frank hopes to do this by taking over the former Misfits site in Romsey and is also working on creating the website – www.showmeyourart.com (which should be fully up and running in about three weeks time).

Show Me Your Art will be great for full time artists who want to display their work, but it will also provide a very welcome platform to those who are artists on a part time basis – for example, many artists and creative people often work in other jobs until such time as others start to notice their work and they can earn a decent – and often very well deserved – living from their art; and without space to exhibit how will they get noticed in the first place…?

The former Misfits shop has sat empty for some months now, but if the project gets the go-ahead to take over the site then this would see the Romsey side of the railway bridge, and Mill Road itself, given a new lease of life. The idea is already creating quite a buzz and as Frank himself says:

“I’ve already spoken to a lot of Cambridge artists and everyone seems really excited. Now we just need the support and sponsorship to make it work”.

If you’re an artist interested in exhibiting, or a potential funder/sponsor, or if you just want to find out a bit more about the project then do call Frank on (07815) 710180 or email him: frank@showmeyourart.com – he’ll be happy to hear from you.

A project like this can only be of benefit to the area and will encourage people in the community to work together, help give budding artists a step up the ladder and ultimately give us some lovely arty creations to look at and admire. In fact, the possibilities are endless! Now, where did I put that paintbrush…?