A recent, three month pop-up art studio for adults with learning disabilities in Rochester High Street funded by the Arts Council, is now drawing to a close. Our finale will be an evening launch to show the work that has been made, entitled ‘Art About: Sharing the Love’ at 7pm on Friday the 12th of April (all welcome) followed by an open studio exhibition from the 13th-18th of April from 10-3pm each day.

The evening event on the 12th will also benefit from the neighbouring professional artists studios being open. The Coalshed Press and Printed Wonders spaces will enable visitors to see inside working artists spaces and purchase affordable art. Art About is a not-for-profit Community Interest Company and is run by the lead artists Helen Morley and Wendy Daws. The purpose of this project is to provide excellent contemporary Fine Art opportunities to adults who are excluded from mainstream higher
education, for reasons of disability or disadvantage. The majority of our participants are adults with moderate to complex learning disabilities; however our focus is on developing the artist, their art and their abilities, rather than disability.

The studio and exhibition venue is at Boundary Wharf behind Café Moroc and is in the heart of a growing, grass roots arts scene in the area. Each day the artists have been exploring a diverse and demanding set of skills such as experimental printmaking and painting, plaster and sand casting, sculpture and conceptual construction, drawing and sensory workshops. The lead artists have worked with them in a collaborative and highly experimental way, supporting the individual to find their own expressive creative voice where a common question asked has been ‘what happens if….?’ The studio has achieved a very high standard in a short time as our ambitions were considerable. This has been a successful test as an experimental laboratory where people have been deeply challenged in a safe and fun place where all ideas are welcome.

The exhibition title of ‘Art About: Sharing the Love’ has come from a slightly jokey but, as it turns out, quite genuine experience. Our premise is that everyone has the capacity to make creative and self expressive art, and it has been our privilege to open people to a completely new world. The whole project has been a case of ‘build it, and they will come’ experience, where we had no idea before hand who might turn up. We have been extraordinarily fortunate in our participants and the support of the local professional artist community. The work exhibited shows great promise and potential, even after such a short time of work.

Funding applications are currently underway with a view to continuing the work begun in the studio. We hope to hear about that in late April. People may like to sign up to the email newsletter at http://eepurl.com/unaaD

Art About Studio, Unit 3 Boundary Wharf, High Street, Rochester, Kent ME1 1DA (located behind Café Moroc) For more information regarding Art About CIC, please email Helen at hcmorley@yahoo.co.uk or call 07849926239 or visit http://www.art-about.co.uk