Visual Arts for The Common Good

Visual Arts for The Common Good

Greenbelt visual arts volunteer Rich Blake-Lobb takes a look at this year’s Visual Arts Line-Up 

The visual arts programme doesn’t just offer art to gaze upon, but encourages contributions, creativity, contemplation and community through a range of workshops, exhibitions and evolving galleries. 

If I had to choose something I am most eager to experience it is probably Katie Duxbury’s ‘1000 Mile Dress’. Having begun with the first few steps at Greenbelt 2015 Katie returns to exhibit the dress and tell the story of its journey across hills and fields. What began as an experiment to see how the dress deteriorated over the miles became a reflection on the journeys of others. Throughout the weekend a couple of refugees will be telling their stories of their journey’s to the UK… look out for times advertised daily at the shed itself.

Each year I enjoy visitors exclaiming their discovery of the garden sheds as intimate treasures around the festival. The Allotment Gallery will witness 10 different artists (including Naomi Gordon McKibben, Lizzie Merrill and Deborah Fielding) exhibiting every three hours. It always amazes me how much diversity can be experienced in a single shed with opportunities to get involved and learn an old skill with the likes of GRACE or reflect on experiences of mental health services with Stephen Spicer.

We know that among the crowds are all kinds of creative folk and I am excited for the opportunities for everyone to be part of this year’s festival as our third shed will begin as a blank canvas. It is waiting for all of us to create, perform, write, draw, doodle, sing, speak, act, or whatever it is we do. The People’s Gallery is just that… a gallery in which me, you, us create a festival in a shed. I am looking forward to seeing the walls become covered with sketches, poems and stories created over the course of the weekend, hearing poets and singers perform or perhaps experiencing an impromptu panel discussion.

Encouraging creativity is important to us and the ever-popular Art School workshops (sign up early each day) provide opportunities to develop skills and ideas… you may even create something you’d like to display in The People’s Gallery. If you want to explore your thoughts and create mixed media art the sign up for a workshop with Ruth Bennett. Meg Wroe will have us creating wire sculptures and Fred Apps, I. D. Campbell, Sheena Cruse and Matt Lawrence will have us drawing, painting or sketching in different styles from abstract to caricatures.

On top of all this we have the spectacular Limbic Cinema projecting moving-image visuals onto an ancient oak tree and Eva Mileusnic producing a site specific installation, Crossroads, just for the festival.

Finally, I am eager to see how the Greenbelt Arts Collective will develop. Artists are invited to meet up in the Jesus Arms to share ideas and together shape the future of the visual arts programme.

Pictured: an example of Limbic Cinema’s spectacular projection mapping