24 Sep Art Talks with Artbank
James Barker, Dimitris Koutroumpas & Lucy Smith from the Artbank
This was the first talk after our August summer break. I really wanted the team that initiated and run the Art Bank in Shepton Mallet to come and share their experiences but they were only free on an evening so we had our first Art Talk night event.
Dimitris, Lucy and James all hail from very different creative backgrounds but have come together in a small town in Somerset to create a unique community project in the venue / hub they have created called the Art Bank. The building was a bank and they have leased it now since 2018, starting as a creative hub to becoming also a café and a bar at night supporting music and performance events.
Lucy started the rubbish art project, originally at Glastonbury festival ( a not for profit organisation that takes waste materials from local businesses, charity shops and individuals to help local artists and people to transform them into thought provoking art.) Central to it’s aims is environmental messaging, a reconsideration of one-use plastics and other materials. She felt that there needed to be an ongoing base for this work and Shepton Mallet badly needed a helping hand as a community. Dimitris and James then came on board and brought their shared experiences of art practice, teaching and the service industry to develop the café, bar, music evenings, exhibitions, workshops and large installation performance events around the town.
The evening was lively and enthusiastically received by the audience, we saw slides of events and projects that have brought the community together through art including an event that happens in shop windows each year. The team also brought some amazing handmade mask / heads which gave us all a sense of the fun and originality being created at the Art Bank. The question and and answer session at the end of the talk opened up discussions about
how you engage a community and strategies were shared.