Saturday 19th August, Midday. I’m unloading (what feels like) a ton of art materials at The Wallington Arms, to get ready for our first We Are All Artists community art workshop and exhibition. Jon, Rachel and the rest of the staff are on hand, the doors are opened and the set up begins. Carole and Keira come down early to help – that’s much appreciated. Will anyone show up? I’m quietly confident that there are enough curious people in and around town to make this a worthwhile afternoon. We’ll see…
We are due to start at 2pm, and just before then, our first guests arrive. They are quickly followed by more, and more, and more. In a short time – the huge room is full and we are busy playing a drawing game called Finding Lines. The game loosens people up for a brief conversation about community and what that means to our guests. We ponder a while – share a few ideas, then get down to work. Our intention is to create art for our own evening exhibition.
The pub very kindly provided some snacks as people worked, and boy did they work. The room became an outpouring of colour. Acrylics, water colours, Sharpies, pastels, crayons, pencils and more came to life across the room as the art works began to emerge. Jason Goldrick kindly demonstrated a technique involving water colours, salt, clingfilm and a hair dryer (you had to be there). There seemed to be no end to our creative experiments – credit cards were used as brushes, so were fingers and hands. 4pm arrived in the blink of an eye – and our guests departed. We now had just two hours to turn the room from a fully functioning workshop, into an exhibition space. No pressure!
With more help from Carole, Keira, Helen and Aissa, the transformation began. We worked hard, and once the clear up was finished we then had the job of curating the work. I think we did a pretty good job – I hope you will agree.
The exhibition opened at 6pm and our guests had a great evening viewing all the art and having conversations about community. I met Lindsay who recently guessed the location of a Spanish art drop which I was able to hand over, and Stacie came to the exhibition with a piece of free art which I placed in Spain a year ago. She correctly guessed its location at the time – and it was a lovely coincidence to spend time with two people who had both found Spanish free art. The project is full of lovely coincidences like this.
We closed up just after 8pm and I’m heading back to The Wallington Arms in a while to finish taking everything down. I expect the two large murals will stay on the wall for a while, why not pop down soon and take a look at them?
Thank you to everyone who came and made art, and attended the exhibition. Thanks to Carole, Keira, Helen and Aissa for helping with preparations. Thanks to Rachel, Jon and all the staff at The Wallington Arms for being such great hosts, and thanks to Arts Network Sutton for supporting the free art project and providing a grant so this event could take place.