Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Ella Penn - Alopecia tableau - Art of Caring

Ella Penn - Alopecia tableau, Freya: Me My hair and I
Submissions for this year's Art of Caring have started to arrive in our inbox and we've been both excited and emotionally piqued by the artworks (and haikus) that people would like to exhibit. If you're reading this and would also like to exhibit then visit our SUBMIT page, you've got until the 3rd April to do so and it's totally Free. So just do it.

When we get a few spare minutes from sifting through the entries it inspires us to reflect on the artworks and the power that they possess. Today I've been particularly caught by a series of photographs by Ella Penn, who has been exhibiting with us since the Rarities magnet exhibition on Hasting's Pier in 2011. Although her work is primarily photography based she has a keen eye for the conceptual. In 2015 she took part in the wonderful Art Language Location festival in Cambridge where she exhibited her work 52 Card Pick Up with Liam Whitfield. Over a 6 year period they collected a full pack of cards after finding them individually discarded in public places.

The Art of Caring has always been close to the heart of Ella as she was a carer for her dad for 10 years. This year she has submitted a powerful triptych dedicated to her friend Freya, who is raising awareness of Alopecia.

Ella Penn - Alopecia tableau, Freya: Me My hair and I
"The photos are of Freya Barnes who I've known all my life. Both Freya and her sister Roxy have battled with Alopecia as they were growing up and this knocked their self confidence, as a woman hair is seen as one of the key factors in femininity. The NHS gave Freya wigs and referred her to hair loss shampoos. All of which are designed to cover up or try and restore the growth of her hair. 

I suggested this photo project to Freya as photo therapy and hopefully to give her confidence in herself without her wig. When I showed Freya the images after the shoot she was really pleased and decided to share an image on the Alopecia Facebook page to inspire other women."
Ella Penn, 2017

Ella Penn - Alopecia tableau, Freya: Me My hair and I
It goes without saying that we were inspired here too, by both Freya and Ella. We thank them both for contributing to the exhibition. If you would like to see these artworks and many more like them then visit us at St George's Hospital on the 3rd-12th May 2017. A selection of AOC work will also be exhibited at St Pancras Hospital from 20th July to 19th October 2017.


Wednesday, 25 January 2017

The Art of Caring 2017 - Submissions open

Now in its 3rd year The Art of Caring is needed more than ever to show support for Nurses, Carers, and the NHS. This is your chance to exhibit an artwork or haiku that demonstrates your passion for this theme, whether you have faced its challenges from the perspective of a carer or patient.

The Art of Caring is split into two clear exhibitions.
The first is at St George's Hospital (3rd-12th May 2017) where printed postcards of your artwork are displayed on the walls of the hospital to help celebrate International Nurses Day. This is an inclusive exhibition.
The second is at St Pancras Hospital (July-October 2017) and uses a mixture of original artworks and printed postcards. Works will be selected by Arts Project curators Peter Herbert and Elaine Harper-Gay.

It is Free to enter.
Send up to 3 jpeg images at an A6 size to
Send a haiku to the same email address

The theme this year is Care, Caring and Sustainability.
It is inspired by the theme for International Nurses Day 2017 which is Nursing: A voice to lead - Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

You'll receive a confirmation email within 7 days with your catalogue/exhibition numbers. Before the exhibition we will print 2 postcards of each of your artworks. One copy will be sent to you and the other will be exhibited at St George's Hospital, Tooting, UK from the 3rd-12th May, 2017.

This year we will be opening the exhibition on 3rd May 2017 alongside SNAP (Student Nurse Academic Partnership Conference) and finishing on International Nurses Day (12th May).
If you would like to see last year's exhibition and some of the 380 submissions then click here. - 2016 Launch Party & exhibition

For the full details about how to submit your work visit our SUBMIT page.
Deadline for submissions is Monday 3rd April 2017
(We may close early if all 400 exhibition spaces are filled)

Alban Low, Bryan Benge, Dean Reddick and Stuart Simler

Monday, 12 December 2016

Retrospective: Until next time

Jill Hedges
Thank you to everyone who contributed to our exhibition at Kensington and Chelsea College gallery last week. It was a unique opportunity for a group such as ours, whose natural environment is usually exhibiting on the streets. It was a mammoth task to collate and organise the 25 exhibitions we have created between 2010 and 2016. Thank you to Matthew Kolakowski and all the staff at KCC for helping us throughout the exhibition.

Peter S Smith reads from Vertical Prose
The exhibition finished with a charming evening of talks and discussions about CollectConnect's impact and future. True to our ideals we didn't hog the floor with our thoughts but opened it up to many of the chapbook authors who have published with us recently. We were treated to insights and reading from Kevin Acott (South), Stella Tripp (Mumurmurations), Peter S Smith (Vertical Prose), Carmel Blackie (Resilience), Maartens Lourens (Poetry WTF?!) and Lucy Furlong (The Seethingographer). Thank you once again, without you we wouldn't have come so far in the past 6 years.

For those of you that couldn't be with us then view all the photos HERE.

Have a wonderful Christmas break and see you again in 2017 for some new adventures.
Bryan, Stuart, Alban and Dean

Monday, 5 December 2016

Artist Talks at the CollectConnect Retrospective

We launched the CollectConnect Retrospective with an opening party last week at Kensington and Chelsea College gallery where artists of all ages joined together to celebrate 6 years of inclusive art. With 25 exhibitions, 1200 artists and a whole gallery full of artworks it was a major effort to prepare this exhibition, and we hope the artists and visitors enjoyed both the art and meeting each other. The nature of our exhibitions and projects mean that many artists never meet each other, they are merely artworks and reputations in cyberspace. There were many London artists in attendance, Sharon Read and Jill Hedges endured the long trek from Northampton but Eskild Beck once again came the furthest from his hometown of Aabenraa in Denmark.

Catherine Wynne-Paton visited the gallery before the opening party to record some footage of the exhibition and to interview Alban, Bryan and Dean about the CollectConnect project. You can find a brief snippet of their conversation here -

The exhibition isn't over yet!
Join us on Tuesday 6th Dec from 5.30 - 8pm at Kensington and Chelsea College Gallery (Hortensia Rd, London, SW10 0QS) for an evening of Artists Talks. Bryan Benge, Stuart Simler, Alban Low and Dean Reddick will be talking about the CollectConnect projects and their adventures in public art. There will also be an introduction about how to publish a chapbook and readings from published authors Kevin Acott, Peter S Smith, Carmel Blackie, Maartens Lourens (Poetry WTF?!), Lucy Furlong and Stella Tripp.

Look forward to seeing you.

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Postcard to My Future Self exhibition

If you could write a postcard to your future self what would it say? Are you having the best time of your life or perhaps you're struggling and need some help? Over 70 people contributed their thoughts, hopes and fears to this project so far and we’ll be sending their postcards back to them in 5 years time on 18th November 2021.

There's still time to get involved, if you visit the exhibition in the Foyer at Knights Park Campus (we're situated on the way to the cafeteria), Kingston University before 3pm on Friday 18th November 2016. Just fill in a postcard and pop it in our special red post box.

Thank you to Holly Duffield and the Union of Kingston Students at Kingston University who are supporting this exhibition to raise awareness for Self Care Week.


Monday, 14 November 2016

Retrospective Exhibition at Kensington & Chelsea College Gallery

Join us on for the CollectConnect Retrospective launch party.
Thursday 1st December 2016,
5.30 - 8pm
Kensington and Chelsea College Gallery (Hortensia Rd, London, SW10 0QS).

The exhibition is open from 30th November until 8th December 2016, daily from 9am to 5pm (Closed Sat & Sun). There will be a special evenings of artist talks and workshops on Tuesday 6th December 5.30 - 8pm.

Freezchester, Arndale Centre, 2010
We'll be displaying a mixture of artwork, photographs and ephemera from these exhibitions - Open Fridge, Fab Fridge 2010, Freezchester, Unblank, Lightbite, Brighton Open, SMartwalks, Rarities 2011, Patternotion, Art Jazzed Up, Jawspring, Cambridge Blue Plaque Walk, Hidebird 2012, MagnetBird,  Freed Book,  Future Bound, Cardboard City, Fab Fridge 2014, Dwell - Book of Nets, On the map, Art of Caring 2015,  Art of Caring 2016,   Relationship Map, Chapbooks, Postcards to My Future Self.

Rarities magnet exhibition, Hastings Pier, 2011.
CollectConnect started with an exhibition in 2010 at Gallery 89, Barnet, London. The exhibition was organised by artists Alban Low and Dean Reddick who were working with people living with and recovering from mental health problems. They devised a simple exhibiting structure that eliminated many of the common stresses and hinderances for those wishing to display their work to the public. This way of exhibiting not only appealed to those with mental health problems but to a huge swathe of the art community who wanted the chance to share their work.

Cambridge Blue Plaque Walk, Nick Belcher, 2014
Following that first exhibition, they joined with fellow artists Bryan Benge and Stuart Simler to share more ideas and events.  Over the last 6 years, the quartet have developed an open and flourishing relationship that is flexible and spontaneous. This means they can take advantage of exhibition spaces or funding that comes available at short notice, as well as current trends in cheap internet printing and the growth of internet and mass communication. Together they have organised 25 exhibitions of more than 1200 people’s work, bringing more than 4000 artworks to the public’s attention.

Thank you for the adventures in art.