I want to share a project I am involved in. Every two years we have a resident art show – including paintings and other art work they have produced. The items are sold and all the proceeds go to support our tenant welfare fund. This allows small grants to be given to individuals and families who need help, or to organise events and outings for groups of tenants in care schemes. The private view is a truly amazing event with tenants, their families and friends celebrating their achievements and the power of art and creative endeavour.
This year the theme was A5 art – the size was restricted; staff were allowed to submit pieces as well as tenants: and professional artists were encouraged to provide a painting or two. Everything is on sale at the same price – £50 – and we are keen to sell as many of the 300 items as possible to allow us to boost our funds for helping residents.
I did a couple of embroideries for the show and one sold on the night. I also bought a small painting by a resident.
With a team of artists, curators and tenants I helped choose the art that would be displayed and sold. We ended up with more than 300 pieces. If you would like to check out the art work, look at our special site.
When I got there the volunteers were putting on their T shirts and getting a team talk.
Most of the volunteers are our staff from our housing, finance, and care and support teams. Their job on the day was to help people enjoy the event, buy the art work, meet the artists and to look after the cloakroom.
Once the artists starting arriving I spoke to as many as I could. The artists including tenants who had participated in workshops and staff members who had simply done a painting or art work in their spare time.
Jackie is a very regular contributor to our art shows. She always paints flowers (top left). I think of these as tulips, and find the colour combinations interesting and appropriate.
A longstanding tenant representative is Mary. She was on the Board of Notting HIll when I was appointed and she appointed me, so I have always had a close relationship with her. Since then she has retired, had a number of operations and now uses a crutch to help her walk.
Dwaine was inspired by the world cup and several of his pictures are based on the national flag of nations. This one is of the French flag; he also created a Croatian flag. The picture I bought is the green one in the top of this photograph, but I really liked his French flag (bottom). Dwaine enjoyed having his photograph taken.
I met Bridget Metcalfe who lives in our Chelmsford scheme. She is a singer, journalist and radio broadcaster who also enjoys art. She recently had an exhibition based on one of our building sites.
Yvette is a long standing member of staff, supporting our Housing Officers. Her colourful painting of a girl (centre) was influenced by Star Trek.
Wayne, who doesn’t speak, had contributed his spatter paintings. However he wanted his portrait taken against this colourful selection by other artists.
At the end Mandy Worster, the organiser, and I, made short speeches to thank the contributors, the artists, the gallery and the volunteers. We both implored people to buy a painting with all the money going to help our tenants in need. What an amazing and uplifting event. I am so proud to work for an inclusive, creative community – Notting Hill Genesis.