Monday, 6 September 2010

Church transformed into gallery for community Art Trail

St Barnabas Church Walthamstow has been transformed into a gallery for a community art trail.

The E17 Art Trail, one of most exciting community events in London, is now in its fifth year and the ten-day programme includes work by hundreds of artists exhibited in 120 venues. St Barnabas participated for the first time in 2009 with work by Henry Shelton but this year is displaying work by ten artists and is described by the Art Trail organisers as “a major venue”.

The Grade II* Listed church is open during the Art Trail to exhibit its own collections of fine Arts and Crafts furnishings and the contemporary work including fashion photography, portraits, silverware, a 20 foot wall installation and a newly-painted altar triptych.

Portraits, by artist Emma Scutt, are hung in the spaces usually occupied by the church’s stations-of-the-cross. They relate to the Art Trail’s 2010 theme “Welcome to Walthamstow” and include depictions of 10 Walthamstow people past and present, including Walthamstow-born William Morris, artist Grayson Perry, TV presenter June Sarpong, pop-star Brian Harvey and the church’s parish priest Father Steven Saxby.

Walthamstow’s MP Stella Creasy (also depicted in a portrait) cut a tape to launch the Trail at St Barnabas’ private view and responded to Father Saxby’s description of Walthamstow as “the cultural capital of the Universe” by saying she prefers to call E17 “God’s own country”. There are also three events for the Art Trial at St Barnabas: a discussion on Pen Dalton’s work “Does your mother come from Ireland?; ‘the Art of Singing’ by the choir of the Rose and Crown Pub and a dance event including dance from the many cultures represented in the congregation at St Barnabas.

Father Saxby said, “It is wonderful to see the church being used in this way to welcome the wider community. We have already had scores of visitors to see the art work, including many from the neighbourhood who’ve walked through the doors for the first time. It was a challenge for me displaying work by ten artists but the work looks spectacular in the church!”

Opening times are Thurs 9th (7pm-10pm), Fri 10th (Noon-4pm), Sat 11th (10am-4pm) and Sun 12th (Noon-4pm).

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