Arts trail brightens up Streatham streets during lockdown

Go into any modern art gallery and someone is whispering “A child could have done that”.

Which may be where one Streatham street’s residents got the idea.

A first ever Neighbourhood Midsummer Arts Trail around Wellfield Road and the Stanthorpe Triangle showed residents the creative energy in their community.

Families put on arts, crafts and shows in their front gardens, allowing everyone to have fun at a safe distance.

It started in the new Railside Community Garden between Wellfield and Gleneldon Road, which has been cared for during lockdown by volunteers.

Streatham MP Bell Ribeiro-Addy, who opened the Art Trail, met some of the volunteers and expressed her admiration and support for the garden.

And it didn’t take expensive price tags, big white walls or long explanations for visitors to know how much creativity there was to see.

There was work by artists Amanda Waite, who makes textiles, and printmaker Ailbhe Phelan. Gabriela and Alex Yiaxis and also Gillian Drayton staged photography exhibitions.

There were watercolours from Caroline and Balvinder, abstract painting from Billy Bigwood, fabulous coloured graphics from long-time resident Rose Price, paintings and plumbing parts sculptures by Brian O’Connor and bright, joyful paintings from Ally Mitchell, drawings by Joe Dean and family arts activities from Natasha and Eva Cox.

The Clark family, Gemma, Isla and Alex, presented their lockdown work, Ellen Cockerill and her two tiny artists were on hand to smile at everyone who stopped to admire their happy handiwork, while Muna Mohamed’s collage was thought-provoking and beautiful.

And there were puppets and a video clip from an award-winning stop motion animation short film by Wellfield Road’s Lezsek Mozga.

It was art for art’s sake, with no money changing hands – even by contactless payment.

Fion Gunn, who devised the Arts Trail, was the guide for embroidered birds by Carol Walker, a film about the personal impact of coronavirus by Jane Cleg, and delicately beautiful drawings by Carol Hobley and Chris Winter.

Young artists Terri Broughton and her friend Louise showed digital works, and the Battley family showed an impressive array of arts and crafts.

Tyson Richards staged a masked, choreographed ‘Corona’ rap, while Jacob Taylor performed on the clarinet. Fion said: “An important purpose of the trail was to give people an experience of art outside of the usual galleries and institutions, to have a real conversation between artists, makers, participants and viewers.”

Residents now want to repeat it annually – so they had better get busy for next year. And for anyone elsewhere who says, like they do in galleries, “I could do that,” now is your chance.

Pictured top: Muna Mohamed’s collage

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