A new exhibition celebrating Southampton's first ever artist residency within a community centre runs at the John Hansard Gallery Education Room from February 6 — March 31. Southampton-based artist Kate Grenyer worked closely with staff, local residents and users of the newly-built St. Denys Community Centre over the Autumn in 2006, creating a new art work, 'Roving Window' (pictured).
'Roving Window' is a photographic montage of the St Denys area, comprising photographs taken by centre users and the artist. When chatting to some of the users of the centre, it became clear to Kate that many people share a similar view about the building - whilst people love the extra security and safety of the new centre it does mean there's a lack of natural light. And how best capture the light of St Denys - with photography. Kate left some disposable cameras on reception, urging people who use the centre to grab a camera and take off into the streets of St Denys and take some inspirational shots. Presented as a 'window' to the outside, the work is mounted on wheels - as Kate Grenyer comments: "It is really important that people at the centre feel they can move the art work around, bring it in to meetings or any sessions they wish, so it's not stuck in any one room and is available to everyone." The piece is accompanied by an interactive CD ROM, enabling closer exploration of the image.
The project, organised by the John Hansard Gallery in partnership with St. Denys Community Centre, aimed to de-mystify the work of contemporary artists, whilst promoting community centres and visual art practice in Southampton. Roving Window, along with accompanying sketch books and drawings, will feature in the exhibition held in the John Hansard Gallery Education Room. The 'window' will then return to the centre for the community to keep.
The residency was organised by John Hansard Gallery, supported by the North Neighbourhood Partnership and Southampton City Council.