Islington arts charity celebrates 10 years of work

Jeremy Corbyn MP. Picture by Sheryl Tait

Jeremy Corbyn MP. Picture by Sheryl Tait - Credit: Archant

A community arts charity has celebrated its 10th birthday with supporters gathering to recognise a decade of achievements.

To mark the Rowan Arts Project’s milestone, staff and supporters held a party at Resource for London, Holloway Road, themed around a humorous poem, penned by children’s author Dr. Seuss, called Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

Jeremy Corbyn, MP for Islington North and a patron of the charity based in Hornsey Street, Holloway, said: “Rowan Arts has given a real buzz to the area.

“I’m really proud of Rowan Arts and was very touched when they asked me to become a patron – and of course, I said yes.”

“When it started, it wanted to improve artistic endeavour in the north of the borough. People were sceptical, but it worked ever so well.”

The new year marks a host of new projects for the charity, including an open mike night every Tuesday at Filthy’s, Holloway Road.

Ruth Robinson, director of the Rowan Arts Project, said: “It’s great to have made it to 10 years.

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“We are grateful to our volunteers, trustees, staff and our audience and to all our funders – in particular Islington Council, Heritage Lottery Fund, Arts Council England and Cripplegate.

“It’s great to have been part of Islington’s story for the past decade – there is an interesting person around every corner.”

Ms Robinson set up the charity with Holloway residents, Verity Spence and Claire Hegarty, and a number of volunteers.

It grew from the Peter Pan Park Action Group, which raised more than £300,000 to rebuild a decaying park.

The Holloway women were inspired by what the group did for the community and decided to set up Rowan Arts.

It recently launched a project to encourage young film-makers to tell the stories of multicultural Islington.

A Young Person’s Guide to Religion encouraged 14 to 18-year-olds to explore religions in the borough and share families’ personal stories.

Teenagers received expert guidance in producing their works, thanks to weekly workshops – teaching them to produce, shoot and edit their 30-minute films.

The award-winning charity’s latest exhibition is Women’s Work, which showcases the work of local artists exploring women and their lives, and runs until February 28 in the St Luke’s Centre in Central Street, Finsbury. Violence against women, as well as work about femininity, is highlighted in the show curated by Shiri Shalmy.

The next exhibition, Face Facts, Face Fictions is a solo show by artist Sal Jones which launches on February 25 as part of REEL Islington film festival and will be the fifth Rowan Arts curated exhibition at the Resource for London café.

Rowan Arts was launched in 2003 to inspire change in Islington by exploring art and supporting residents’ experiences and lives.

In 2012, it won the coveted Charity of the Year award and was the Islington Volunteer Involving Organisation of the Year in 2011.