The next assignment is one where showcasing our art is the final outcome. Planning and organising how and where our art is displayed are some of the key elements to overcome.
In any exhibition the first stage is to find a venue. Initial contact with ‘The Mall’ management to request the use of an empty shop was met with muted reactions and a dismissive “No units available” despite numerous empty shops being seen. Widening the search we contacted a number of letting agents to enquire about empty shops in Upper George Street and High Town. Each one wished to charge approximately £150 for a 5 day let.
Speaking to one agent direct about a free let the curt response was ‘No one will give you a premises for free’. Charity it appears, is in short supply in Luton.
Approaching the HAT factory, the so called ‘Arts centre’ the venue offered us a large room exactly the dimensions of what we were after. Again the fee was £120 but for only three and a half days, insufficient to meet the brief. The same person appeared to control the only gallery sized space in the town Library nearby, effectively closing that space to us also.
Finding a usable ‘free’ space began to appear an impossible dream. The next place we visited though offered one glimmer of hope. The area on offer was large, free and currently unoccupied. Great! However the site owner was not paying business rates on the space and we were informed that until the Council agreed we could use it without the site owner incurring a huge rates bill, it was not to be used. The venue manager was as disappointed as us. After a week of waiting to hear from the council no decision has yet been made.
Not to be disappointed we have carried on the search.
At the same time we began fund raising. Completing a risk assessment form to run a pop up cafe we set up the only hot drinks site in the Alexon building (our art college building). All the staff and students were fantastic in their support and enabled us to raise enough money to cover our basic exhibition costs.
In choosing a name for our exhibition we turned to the work we had produced for inspiration.
Our video work was created using ‘appropriated’ material, the portraits were ‘performance’ in that they were not our real identities. Additionally our work included elements of fakery, forbidden places and graffiti. The key points being qualities of an un-savoury character and thus the title ‘The Inglorious Artists Exhibition’ was born.
The next task was to design a poster to advertise the show. Three of our team gathered in the studio dressed as if we had just committed an art robbery and within a short time a basic poster was created. Discussions over the most appropriate text to use continued and masked the fact that the real issue was the worrying lack of a venue with time running out.
The dates set for our exhibition are for the 13th – 17th April 2015, where we eventually show our work remains to be seen.