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Exhibition shines light on talented amateur artists

PUBLISHED: 11:16 06 December 2018 | UPDATED: 12:30 06 December 2018

Crowds enjoying the work at The A5 Art Show's private launch event on November 28. Picture: Richard Townshend

Crowds enjoying the work at The A5 Art Show's private launch event on November 28. Picture: Richard Townshend

Richard Townshend Photography

A housing association based in Islington has curated an art show allowing their creative residents to exhibit work alongside a clutch of professional artists.

Mandy Worster is the volunteer programme manager at Notting Hill Genesis. Picture: Richard TownshendMandy Worster is the volunteer programme manager at Notting Hill Genesis. Picture: Richard Townshend

Notting Hill Genesis, who manage 64,000 homes and serve more than 170,000 people across London and the south-east, brought their A5 Art Show to the Koppel Project Hive at the end of November for a residency that continues until Friday December 21.

There are a total of 305 A5 works featured, each displayed anonymously and available to buy online for a set price of £50. The exhibition includes work from well-known artists like Jim Broadbent and Sarah Pickstone but also pieces from Notting Hill Genesis’ residents and members of staff.

Notting Hill Genesis’ volunteer programme manager Mandy Worster has curated the project. She says that “the ethos is about celebrating resident creativity in all its forms.

“We take work that might happen on a local scale and put it in to a gallery space – we want to make our residents feel special and to put the focus on their talent.

The exhibition features resident artists from Sidney Miller Court in Ealing. Picture: Richard TownshendThe exhibition features resident artists from Sidney Miller Court in Ealing. Picture: Richard Townshend

“Our previous art shows started quite small but have grown; we’ve got sponsorship from Savills for this one and have built a bespoke website (thea5show.com).

“The exhibition is a fundraising activity. All sales are going back in to a pot for our tenant Hardship Fund; offering support with basic necessities, helping people with debt and offering wellbeing activities.”

The A5 Art Show is the fourth to be curated by Worster, but the first since Notting Hill Housing and Genesis Housing Association merged in April of this year. In keeping the identity of each submission secret, the exhibition puts residents on a level playing field with full-time artists – some of whom have coveted awards to their names.

“There’s something for everyone there, the tastes and styles of the artworks are very different,” adds Worster.

The exhibition continues until December 21. Picture: Richard TownshendThe exhibition continues until December 21. Picture: Richard Townshend

“We ran a series of workshops for our residents in London throughout the summer, the idea was that work from these classes would feed in to the exhibition.

“At the launch event (on November 28) we had a group of older women who took part in one of our classes in Ealing there. To see them all dressed up, looking at their names up on the board and beaming all night – it’s what drives me. They each sold a piece of work and were clearly really proud, it’s about making these people feel good.”

Worster estimates that between 80 and 90 of the featured works had been bought in the first week, but that still leaves over 200 pieces available to purchase. A list of the remaining artworks on sale can be found here.

The A5 Art Show continues at Koppel Project Hive, EC1A 2AT until Friday November 21. It’s open Monday to Friday (10am-6pm) and Saturday (12pm-4pm).

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