Community sculpture hub seeks support from Londoners

22 August 2016

Melting Pot @ London Sculpture Workshop is one of 20 locally initiated crowdfunding campaigns to receive a pledge from the Mayor of London in Round 3 of our Civic Crowdfunding pilot.

This means that if the campaign can raise all of the rest of the total project budget from 'the crowd', the Mayor will donate £20,000 and it can become a reality. The deadline for this fundraising is 1st September 2016.

London Sculpture Workshop’s Co-founder and Director Jessica Mello explains more...

Tell us about your organisation and its key aims

London Sculpture Workshop is the first London-based not-for-profit, community facility for artists making work in 3D. I am a practicing artist and founded it in 2012 with another artist, Giles Corby. We have recently relocated our workshop to Woolwich, where we want to support our local community.

We believe that every arts organisation should work locally to create new skills and opportunities. We believe a hands-on, minds-on approach can help students develop 21st-century skills such as collaboration, creativity and critical thinking.

In the past we have provided sculpture education in schools, collegies, universities, and for charities, museums, galleries and arts organisations. We have trained homeless people in woodwork and metalwork for CRISIS, the national charity for single homeless people.

Recently we were asked by Tower Bridge to deliver workshops for school groups and create permanent plaques for the local area with young people.

What is your project, why is it important and how will it help people in your area?

We will construct a community ceramics hub and foundry where practical sessions, open days and exhibitions can be held. We will design sessions for all demographics, including older people, school groups, youth projects and hard to reach groups.

Many traditional crafts like woodwork, embroidery, and other forms of making by hand are now making a resurgence. Using sculpture and handling real raw materials can boost skills and confidence.

What’s your best experience of the Mayor’s crowdfunding pilot been so far?

We have been overwhelmed by the support we’ve received from the local community, the artistic community and the education community. There are many arts organisations interested to use and help us run the space including Bow Arts, Thames Barrier Print Workshop, Urban Crafts Foundation, Pangaea Sculpture Centre, Workshop Birmingham, Essex Network of Artists’ Studios, ACAVA, and Space.

We have had telephone enquiries and walk-in visits to the workshop from young people (under 20) asking when the programme will start and how they can join. Local people and members of Thames-side Studios have asked if they can volunteer to help with the project.

A wonderful phone caller told us it would enhance the area to have a community arts hub, particularly one that is free to low-income families.

Why, when and how should people pledge to you? 

We've had early-stage conversations about the project with South London Network of Art Teachers, Greenwich Community College and Colfe's School! They are all excited to work with us once things are up and running.

We know people recognise the benefit of learning through creativity and that working together can boost Woolwich as a great place for us all to live and work. We have offered to make visits to schools to meet pupils and teachers, talk about our plans and show them some of the fun and interesting things we get up to in the workshop.

Is there anything specific you need in-kind?

If you can offer your design time, access to a printer, even a van for distribution for example then please get in touch – the sooner the better!

Are there any other ways people can meet you face-to-face or help you?

If you are a member of a group such as a teacher, community group leader, carer or parent who would be interested in working with us or learning sculpture in our workshop, then please get in touch! 

London Sculpture Workshop has a wonderful band of loyal volunteers. If you are interested in community arts or artist-led education projects then we would be very happy to hear from you. 

There are many interesting people to meet on our site – from fashion designers to photographers, print-makers to bicycle designers, architects to musical instrument makers. We all work together and share our passions at on-site exhibitions and events.

Do you have any public events coming up?

We are hosting for a special preview of the project. Come and see what a sculpture workshop is really like – melted metals, dangerous equipment and all!

Thursday 25th August 2016, 2pm – 5pm
London Sculpture Workshop, Unit 0,
Thames Side Studios, Harrington Way, SE18 5NR

Why not drop in? You can:

  • Get your hands dirty with clay & plaster!
  • See artists demonstrate activities like casting and modeling!
  • Meet experienced sculptors & tutors to ask how things work!
  • Hear about our projects with The British Museum and Tower Bridge!

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