>Bits and Pieces, part of The Newhaven Open Call, 11.09.21 - 26.09.21

> curatorial collaboration between Ian Dawson, Newhaven Community Wellbeing Art Group and The Newhaven Open Call

>Featuring the work of Susan Adam-Bedingfield, Laura Mustoe, Nicky Chumleigh, Sophie Linsdell, Barbara Stevens, Tracy Robinson, Lydia Bas, Jake Stanford, Jason Williams alongside works by Ian Dawson, Nicky Hirst, Louisa Minkin, Alex Schady, Laura White, and Alice Wilson. 

Supported by Arts Council England and Sussex Community Foundation

>Ian Dawson

>Bits and Pieces, part of The Newhaven Open Call, 11.09.21 - 26.09.21
> curatorial collaboration between Ian Dawson, Newhaven Community Wellbeing Art Group and The Newhaven Open Call


Featuring the work of the Wellbeing Art Group; Susan Adam-Bedingfield, Laura Mustoe, Nicky Chumleigh, Sophie Linsdell, Barbara Stevens, Tracy Robinson alongside works by Ian Dawson, Nicky Hirst, Louisa Minkin, Alex Schady, Laura White, and Alice Wilson. 


Newhaven Arts Projects invited the Artist Ian Dawson to guest curate at this year's Newhaven Open Call. Dawson  decided to involve the local Wellbeing Art Group in this process too.
During the summer Dawson assembled several works by a range of artist and travelled with them in a rucksack to Newhaven. The works included fragments of fired ceramic by Laura White, the Touch Wood series of sliced tree branches with images transferred onto their surface by Alice Wilson and cushions depicting the demolition of a South London Housing Estate by Louisa Minkin. In different ways all the works had stories attached to them of landscape, community, fragments, and ruin and were chosen to wash up at a coastal town with tales to tell. All the works could be handled, indeed some like Nicky Hirst’s black graphite coated Russian Dolls would be delicately altered as the shine of fingerprints accumulated upon the surface adding a new lustre to this piece. Alex Schady provided a set of oversized sewn suits made from duvets and a set of instructions about how to wear them. 
At the Hillcrest centre in Newhaven Dawson introduced these works to the Wellbeing Art Group, the weekly community art class. The works were handled and talked about, and these artworks were arranged on tabletops alongside art made in the art class, making connections. New drawings were made to partner works and explore them. Tracy made a cave and Nicky traced colours and shapes emanating out of the sculptures. By the end of the workshop a mini pop-up exhibition had been made from a playful and open interplay between the group and the works that they had encountered for the very first time. Here the group made a show like a collage, applying the technique to piece different works of art together
 The success of this pop-up exhibition workshop provided the impetus to want to restage this at the Open Call Exhibition, where the curators of the main exhibition are piecing work together that they’ve encountered for the first time. So, when the empty shopfront 'Bits and Pieces’ became available it became the perfect venue for Dawson and the Wellbeing Art Group to make their show in. During an intense installation period, works were moved around, the furniture in the store was used, the fridge and safe from the office becoming plinths. The approach was intuitive, trying things out, and seeking consensus ‘what do you think’ was uttered everytime work was moved, constantly trying new arrangements. Combinations were surprising. The richness and layering in the space is testament to the dedication of the Wellbeing Art Group.


The Curatorial Workshop photos can be found here


With grateful acknowledgements to the dedication and ongoing hard work of Nick Marsh and Helen Turner at Newhaven Arts for supporting and facilitating all aspects of this project. Supported by Arts Council England and Sussex Community Foundation