The Free Space Gallery project is a toddler now; at two years old we feel ready to utter some of our first fully formed sentences. And like many precocious children, we think what we do is important – and I’m here to tell you why.
The Kentish Town Health Centre, nestled behind the High Street, and shaded by a line of trees and wrought iron fence, is anything but a picture of calm backstreet tranquility.
The building was designed with the idea that physical environment has a huge effect on an individual’s sense of well being. Arts programmes in health care settings are becoming increasingly recognised as important elements in creating the right environment for individual and community well being.
The Free Space Gallery project was established to feed the needs of the local community and to provide an outlet for the ample local artistic flair of Kentish Town.
Like many toddlers we have a diverse range of interests hosting exhibitions by local and international artists, holding film screenings, free workshops, artists in residence, live music, having theatre performers positioned in the waiting room, food stalls run by local schools and magazine launches by recent graduates. What we propose for this year is something quite different. We are buying a shed!
We want a place to call our own, fresh air, wild life and the smell of varnish on our hands; most of all we want to open up another unconventional arts space in Kentish Town.
The idea was inspired by conversations with other creative types. As we looked down at the weeds and the yew hedges of the health centre garden, a new concept was borne.
Ideas as to how to use our little wooden home have been flooding in – and it is now potentially a studio, a gallery, a cinema, a theatre, a venue for a book club…whatever we or you want it to be.
So be prepared for a summer of shed-inspired arts trails, dances, workshops and exhibitions, we may even find time to plant some flowers.
The shed will be making its first appearance at the Alma Street Fair, come along and have a chat (or drop me an email) and tell us what you think of arts and health…or just say how much you like our paint job.
Words: Melissa Hardwick, Arts Manager & Curator, Free Space Gallery