Last night saw the private view of a retrospective exhibition by the art collective, CollectConnect at Kensington and Chelsea College in London and I'm pleased to have been part of the many projects that comprise this show over the last 6 years.
CollectConnect was founded by artists Alban Low and Dean Reddick, who were working with people living and recovering from mental health problems. They devised a simple and flexible exhibiting structure for displaying artwork that bypassed many of the stresses and obstacles encountered by those wishing to show their work to the public. Using public spaces; creative exhibiting ideas and utilising social media and cheap production methods to publicise their ventures, CollectConnect developed a curatorial ethos that was spontaneous and inclusive to all. Joined by fellow artists, Bryan Benge and Stuart Simler, the quartet have gone on to host 25 exhibitions, displaying over 4000 artworks by 1200 people.
My involvement with CollectConnect began in 2010, when I exhibited in the 'Freezchester' show; a huge collection of miniature magnetic artworks by artists and non-artists alike, displayed all over Manchester city centre, in prominent public spaces. The artworks themselves were free to those that found them and it was this creative method of distributing a wide array of limited edition art to the public that has inspired me to involve myself in their projects, wherever possible. I have since exhibited with them in Nottingham (2011), New Hampshire, USA (2011) and as part of the Bath Arts Festival (2014).
The CollectConnect retrospective exhibition runs until the 8th of December and is open Monday - Friday 9am - 5pm. There will be a series of artist talks on Wednesday 6th December from 5.30pm - 8pm when the organisers will be talking about some of the artists and artworks, as well as their various projects. I wish them luck with the show and look forward to working with them all in the future.