The space, a former butcher's shop and Fovea Gallery on Vaughan Road (West Harrow), closed in 2007 but has reopened as the Usurp Art Gallery for a two year programme funded by Arts Council England. Usurp consulted local residents on what they would like to see in the space and how they would like it to be used. What they discovered was that there was a sense of loss following the closure of the Fovea Gallery, and that there is a demand for creative activity in the area.
The first exhibition ‘Naissance’ (birth of an organisation) will feature work by a range of artists, including the work of local artists Matt Jordan and Dulari Summaria. Harrow residents also form the volunteer support group for the gallery, which includes development opportunities for young artists and an art gardener.
Over the next two years, the gallery will hold a programme of exhibitions, artists in residence and a range of community and outreach work in Harrow, as well as monthly music sessions at the venue.
Moira Sinclair, Executive Director of Arts Council England, London said:
‘Our local arts spaces can be the lynch pin of local communities; somewhere that brings people together to enjoy art, and gets people directly involved in the artistic process. We are pleased Usurp has taken this opportunity to save this gallery for the residents and artists of Harrow, and look forward to hearing about the impact of the project over the next two years.’
Poulomi Desai, Project Director said:
‘I am thrilled to be part of this project. We created the only space for contemporary art in an area of London that has the most diverse languages and one of the largest Asian populations in the UK and yet is neglected in terms of support for visual and sound arts. The gallery will be a platform for people to participate in creative arts learning to share and build on their experiences.’
Notes to editors
Arts Council England Arts Council England works to get great art to everyone by championing, developing and investing in artistic experiences that enrich people’s lives. As the national development agency for the arts, we support a range of artistic activities from theatre to music, literature to dance, photography to digital art, and carnival to crafts. Great art inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves, and the world around us. In short, it makes life better. Between 2008 and 2011, we will invest £1.3 billion of public money from government and a further £0.3 billion from the National Lottery to create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country.
Usurp was awarded £47,720 from our Grants for the arts scheme. This is our open access scheme for individuals, arts organisations and other people who use the arts in their work. They are for activities that benefit people in England or that help artists and arts organisations from England to carry out their work. Grants for the arts is administered by Arts Council England and funded by the National Lottery.