Westminster gallery launches online auction to raise money for summer school for neurodiverse artists

By Charles Harrison

A growing community of artists is producing beautiful work – but hardly anyone is seeing it.

Westminster road-based Hart Club, an art gallery for disabled artists, is aiming to change that by running a fundraiser for their new three month summer art school, which will help launch the careers of emerging neurodiverse artists.

To raise the money, they are launching an online art auction, an online store, and a series of supper clubs.

They have raised £31,000, but need another £29,000 to meet their goal.

“It’s incredible, vibrant work – but the thing is, no one is seeing it,” said artist and Hart Club founder Helen Ralli.

She founded Hart Club in 2018 after being inspired by the work of a neurodiverse art collective.

“They completely reignited my relationship with art,” she said.

The Hart Club aims to promote disabled artists by providing support, access to materials, and by helping with social media.

The school will provide access to all Hart Club in-house facilities including screen printing, ceramics, etching and anything else you might expect to find at art school.

“A lot of groups we work with are very under resourced,” said Mrs Ralli.

“What do things look like when these amazing artists are given access to high quality materials?”

Ms Ralli said that the demands of the modern art world has led to neurodiverse artists being pushed to the side.

“You have to be able to promote yourself, do your own online website and store, you have to be your own PR person, you have to fill every role – and that’s a very narrow percentage of people who can do that,” she said, adding: “Especially if you’re someone who is, for instance, non-verbal.”

“The community of artists we work with is often socially isolated, which means their output is isolated.”

There is also the financial issue of gaining access to art education.

“Arts education is incredibly expensive, and therefore, exclusive,” said Ms Ralli.

“Before you even start talking about diversity in terms of ability, there’s a huge financial barrier – and, you know, it’s not only rich people who are creative.”

The Hart Club is offering six free scholarships to people who struggle to access a traditional arts education, to join their three month summer programme.

Part of the fundraising campaign is an online auction, featuring selection of works from some of London’s most exciting artists, including Sara Berman and Jane Bustin.

Also available are a workshop with YMC’s lead womenswear designer, and a private tour of the Dubuffet exhibition with Barbican curator Eleanor Nairne.

The online auction is running from June 18 to July 11.

All of the proceeds from the auction will go to the Hart School.

They are also hosting several supper clubs, which feature a three course plant-based meal in their gallery, with rum from Brixton Distillery.

The auction can be found at: https://theauctioncollective.com/auctions/hart-school-art-auction

Donate to the fundraiser at https://www.spacehive.com/hart-school-lambeth



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