Producing teen artists

YOUNG people with a flair for music or the arts are being the given the chance to express their creativity at a former church.

By The Newsroom
Saturday, 2nd June 2012, 3:30 pm

The X-Church, on Ashcroft Road, Gainsborough, is home to Slumgothic, an arts organisation which runs the Teenage Art Project.

It gives youngsters the chance to develop new talents at weekly sessions held on Thursday nights.

Director Marcus Hammond said: “We have a lot of musicians and have started quite a few bands, but we’re always looking to attract new people.”

“We’re here for anyone who is interested in the arts generally.”

“Often they think of art as just a subject at school but here they get to know it’s a bit more complicated than that.”

The name Slumgothic came from the style of architecture of the building, which used to be the Church of St John the Divine.

Marcus, 48, of Laughton, said: “There was a movement in the late 19th century for wealthy Victorian patrons to build quite grandiose churches in poor areas.”

“This was going to be a stone church and much bigger than it is now, but somewhere along the line there was a fall-out and it was finished off in brick.”

“From the outside it looks quite austere, but inside you can glimpse what was originally planned.”

Marcus and his wife Hilary are two of seven directors at Slumgothic, which bought the church in 2006.

They organise four or five events a year with limited resources.

“We only get odds and ends of funding, mostly for the teenage art project which has been going for five years,” said Marcus, who went to Goldsmiths College, London, and is a painter and artist.

The idea for the Teenage Art Project came from former Queen Elizabeth High School pupil Verity Barratt who did work experience at Marcus and Hilary’s other company Bend In The River.

Verity is now finishing her art degree at Camberwell School of Art and is working at the Tate Modern.

Marcus said they were looking into forming a record label for all the Gainsborough bands started at the project.

“We don’t try to control what the young people at the art project do because that becomes difficult, but we do expect people to contribute when they come here and to do something positive.”

Marcus said X-Church is being run as an experimental art space and they were keen to show high quality visual art to as many people as possible.

The next project is SoundSpiral, which features 52 speakers set within a large scale, inflatable structure built in Bristol, but with all the sound engineering being done at X-Church.

The inaugural piece called Babel Spring, by Lincoln-based composer Duncan Chapman, features voices in 42 languages which melt and become musical instruments.

An open ‘chirruping’ workshop is being held this Saturday 2nd June at X-Church, when people will be able to upload their own sounds. Babel Spring will then be shown at the Riverside Festival on 16th June.

Anyone interested in joining the Teenage Art Project can just turn up on Thursdays, 7-9pm, or call Marcus on 07908 771107.