Trying something new for the first time can be foreboding. The unfamiliarity, the risk of failure and potential blows to the ego. However, as the famous line from Goethe(…?) goes: ‘boldness has genius, power and magic in it.’ Residents of ASC Art House decided to venture into unchartered territory by organising our first Open Studios weekend. We are in a new building, with a new community, in an area of the city that in many ways is still finding its feet.
Several weeks of preparation, lots of amazing contributions, and residents bringing their unique skills and taking myriad roles to cover all bases, culminated in the two day event that took place last weekend. There was a great turnout, with lots of positive feedback from both visitors and artists about the rich variety and quality of work, the sense of community, and the opportunity to make connections. In a time where communication, artistic exposure and business increasingly takes place online, events that bring people together in this way is really valued. The images below include the specially curated exhibition, in our dedicated gallery space. The opening night with a drinks reception, live music, and talks from the Mayor of Croydon, Humayun Kabir, along with the Culture Manager Chetna Kapacee, about the value of attracting creative people to the area. The idea of working to boost Croydon’s creative profile is something that appeals to a lot of us. If this also involves having a party of sorts, then so be it. A tough sacrifice yes, but one most, if not all of us are willing to make.
With memories of the first Open Studios still fresh in our minds, we’ll look at what we did well, and what we can improve on, so that our next event is bigger, better, and becomes a significant date on people’s calenders. Like many others, I find that my day to day practice as an artist is often akin to solitary confinement (albeit self imposed)…so it’s great to work collectively and organise events like this. I feel a lot of gratitude and pride in our community, and I look forward to seeing what the future holds.