Friday 16th May saw the launch of the Longhouse Professional Artists Development publication. Artists, organisers and speakers gathered in the AirSpace exhibition space to view and discuss the work and issues that had been raised throughout the project. The exhibition continues until 24th May and if you come along you can pick up a free copy of the publication produced during the project. The publication illustrates the artists’ responses to the project and gives further insight into the project itself.
David Bethell and Anne Francis of the AirSpace gallery team both took part in the 3 day residency and exhibition, where 9 artists worked with 2 lead artists, local architects and council officers to explore the regeneration of Hanley, Stoke on Trent’s City Centre. The artists then produced responses and proposals for what they felt could benefit the city whilst working in conjunction with the regeneration.
‘Being involved in the project has given me more confidence in working on public projects and it has introduced me to more people working creatively within the City. It also generated some interesting discussions about the future of art in the city.’
For the launch of the publication Anna Francis has produced a map and invites visitors to the gallery to mark on the map their feelings about the city centre, the things that they would change or keep. The map is gradually filling with responses to the city and offers insight into the general feelings and ideas about the regeneration. Alongside the map sits a pile of postcards that read ‘We don’t need a cinema or an art gallery here …what this city really needs is a great big supermarket.’ A strong comment on the demolition of part of the Cultural Quarter of Hanley City Centre; old cinemas and buildings knocked down to allow for the construction of what is reputed to be the biggest Tesco in Europe.
Chris Lewis-Jones: 13th May
To coincide with the Creative Partnership funded ‘Series of Unlikely Urban Texts’ exhibition, where Chris Lewis Jones worked with pupils from the Forest Park Primary School to create art work, Chris delivered a talk about his practice. The audience were shown examples of how his worked progressed through his concerns with cultural identity and his relationship with Cyril Seaton.
Dialogue Box is a series of exhibitions to be shown in the window space at the AirSpace Gallery. The series is in response to the importance of the gallery window space; we see this as our access to the community, through the window we can reach those people who would not normally seek out an art gallery as well as reminding those that do that we are here. The work that is produced will create dialogue between people; dialogue about the artwork, the gallery and perhaps its place in our ever changing city.
Exhibiting artists include:
George Benson, Birmingham
2nd – 9th June 2008
Benson’s current work concentrates on creating abstract images made solely of colour, form and texture from everyday and found objects. These are currently things
that he has collected throughout his life. Recomposing them and looking at them
from different angles to create subtle, direct images with an absence of complication.
Alison Ballance, London
7th-14th July 2008
The proposal, by only being a suggestion of what it could possibly be, is a fragment. We have to look back into ourselves to see what s missing and then the attention becomes focused on that. Fiction is a fragment and therefore neither real nor the truth. It is a reference to reality which becomes real only through the viewer referring it to themselves. I see the idea of the fragment in architectural ruins, failures or incompleteness; attention is drawn to what is missing.
Diana Ali, Nottingham
18th– 25th August 2008
Diana is a British-Syhleti artist. She has worked in mixed media painting, photography and installation. She has exhibited in various venues such as, Salford Working Mens Club and Bonnington Gallery, Nottingham. She is currently exploring the visual and the verbal as an art form by involving artists’ responses locally, nationally and internationally.
More information from the AirSpace Gallery
As summer approaches and Fine Art students are due to graduate the AirSpace team have been visiting Universities to give talks and offer advice. Dave and Andy have been to Staffordshire University and Loughborough University visiting their final year students.
‘It’s a great way for us to keep up to date with what graduating students are producing and to know what we can offer them, as well as keeping an eye out for up and coming students that we may wish to exhibit at the gallery. It is also a great way to promote AirSpace and to let people know that art is here in Stoke on Trent.’
We want people to know that we are here to offer advice; people can feel free to come along to AirSpace and talk to us. Just e-mail us to let us know you’re coming!
PRIMARY PUPILS ENTER THE ART WORLD
Nottingham-based installation artist Chris Lewis-Jones feels that he has struck artistic gold working with 52 Year 2 pupils at Forest Park Primary School in Cobridge. Using contemporary art to enhance learning across the curriculum has been ‘outstandingly successful’ – so much so that examples of the children’s work are to be exhibited at Airspace Gallery, in Broad Street (Stoke on Trent) in May. Chris, who has worked and exhibited across the UK and beyond explained:
‘This is without doubt one of the most enjoyable commissions I’ve undertaken. As their work shows, the children at Forest Park have been creatively incandescent!’
The project has been funded by Creative Partnerships. Creative Agent Wayne Thexton said:
‘Working with Chris has presented teachers and pupils with many new ideas. Their responses have been fantastic. Pupils aged 6 and 7 have been using the kinds of professional artistic language that many adults would struggle to keep up with. This speaks highly of what is possible with the right kind of challenge’.
David Bethell, founder member of AirSpace Gallery added, ‘It has been really great to bring these kids into the gallery, their work highlights and develops the outreach aspect to our venue’. Forest Park’s Deputy Head Pat Macbeth added, ‘Working with Chris has brought a whole new dimension to the children’s experience and perception of art and artists. The children have found this project to be inspirational in terms of both language and art.’
The exhibition, ‘A Series of Unlikely Urban Texts’, previews on May 8th (7:00-8:30pm) and runs from May 9th-13th.
for further information contact
Chris Lewis-Jones/ Oldknows Studio Group
[email protected] Tel: 0115 9785671 / Mob: 07877 989213