As we all begin to get our heads around the fact that summer is coming to an end and we’re heading back to the Bubble, I’m using my first Blake blog post to promote something happening in the area I call home. Art is certainly not the first thing that springs to mind when you think of Walthamstow. It’s part of Waltham Forest; a borough of London sandwiched between Hackney and Essex, and is generally portrayed in a fairly negative, and certainly non-creative, light. Unless you consider the setting fire to some bins during the 2011 Summer Riots creative, that is. (Come on guys, Tottenham completely upstaged us.)
However, Walthamstow has its charms, most relevant to this blog is its annual E17 Art Trail. 2012 will be its 8th year, and the longest, best advertised and talked about one yet. From the 1st to the 16th of September, over a thousand local artists display their art around the area. The art forms and exhibition
spaces are equally diverse, turning Walthamstow’s lack of official gallery space into an advantage by letting people to really use their imagination. It is the unpredictability of the trail that I love, the informal feeling of art spread across your hometown, ready to be stumbled across in the most unlikely places with a childish, treasure hunt like satisfaction, (my current favourite is the life size plaster cast woman sitting at Walthamstow Central bus station).
This year has sparked a really positive reaction, with social networking sites like Facebook enabling people to share their art they have ‘found’, and their opinions on it. The submission process is open, allowing professional artists to be joined by local residents in the challenge of decorating and performing in their hometown, promoting the appreciation of art, and indeed tackling the misconception of art being something ‘normal’ people can’t join in with and experience.
Not that it’s likely that anyone will make the last couple of days of the Art Trail, but I think the concept is applicable to the Blake Society in that it opens up art to everyone, and promotes the idea that the term ‘Art’ can be taken to mean a great deal more than the stuffy, elitist world many imagine it to be. Bring on the Blove.
The main website: http://www.e17arttrail.co.uk/
A supporting Walthamstow arts development organisation: http://www.artillery.org.uk/
Some of last year’s exhibitions: