The Good Shepherd are proud and honoured to be one of the ambassadors for British Art Show 9 (BAS9) and will be offering visitors the opportunity to enjoy an immersive art experience at their premises in Wolverhampton.
The city is the first in England to be hosting the British Art Show – which takes place every five years – from January 22- to April 10, showcasing the work of 35 contemporary artists, including four Turner Prize winners, at the School of Fine Art at the University of Wolverhampton and Wolverhampton Art Gallery.
Selected as one of the ambassadors for the Show, which launched in Aberdeen and will move on to Manchester and Plymouth, the Good Shepherd will be showcasing the work of service users who have attended weekly art sessions at the charity for many years and featured in several different exhibitions.
The themes of the British Art Show are tactics for togetherness, reparative history and imagining new futures and, as one of the host cities for the very first time, Wolverhampton is focusing on the theme, ‘living and giving voice to difference’.
Being selected as an ambassador also comes during the 50th anniversary year of the Brothers of the Good Shepherd first arriving at Wolverhampton to support the community and ties in with the commemorative theme of ‘It Starts With A Meal’.
“This is such a proud moment for all of us at the Good Shepherd and particularly our service users who will be given such a fantastic platform to display their work,” says Kate Penman, project worker at the Good Shepherd and leader of the art class.
“As an ambassador we have been assigned a project manager from the University and we are hosting our own multi-disciplinary immersive art experience at the Good Shepherd centre on Waterloo Road.
“Our exhibition, ‘It Starts With A meal’ is our most ambitious yet and will see us opening our doors to the public so that they can experience the hospitality and compassion which is at the very heart of the charity and the work that we do.
“Our dining service is the starting point for the many clients that access our services, and this will be the access point to our exhibition.
“We will replicate the experience of our dining service with visitors queuing on the car park and mingling with staff and service users while they wait.
“In the outside area there will be external artworks created by our service users including a collaborative piece with local graffiti artist Graffoflarge whilst, once inside, guests will be served coffee and cake by our volunteers, enjoying a small taste of how the dining service operates.
“During this time some of our service users will share their experiences before guests have the opportunity to view more artwork inside before moving upstairs to our main multi-disciplinary art gallery.
“This space is particularly poignant because it housed the Night Shelter prior to the pandemic, and service users who actually slept in the room will now have their work exhibited as part of the Show. “The focus of ‘living and giving voice to difference’ could not be more apt to the work that we are doing as our art group is made up of people whose voices historically have not been heard.
“We are so thrilled to be linking up with the University and the Art Gallery to host an exhibition that celebrates the work of the Good Shepherd which always seeks to give voice and a home to the dispossessed and marginalised, sharing stories that deserve to be heard.”
The art class at the Good Shepherd has been involved in several successful exhibitions, most recently last September/October in the Light House Media Centre followed by the Mander Centre.
“As part of our programme of meaningful activities, aimed at helping our service users increase their confidence and self-esteem and feelings of being valued in society, the art and photography class has been extremely successful,” says
Tom Hayden, CEO of the Good Shepherd. “Kate, local artist Chris Manley and several staff members have led on some incredible work as part of the project, and we have seen some fantastic reviews from previous exhibitions.
“The classes include art therapy exploring different methods of expressing thoughts and feelings as well as offering opportunities such as the British Art Show for participants to become involved in creative arts and the local arts community.
“To be named as one of the Ambassadors for the British Art Show as it tours Wolverhampton is a huge honour for the Good Shepherd, and we look forward to welcoming visitors to the Centre to combine the exhibition of some thought-provoking artwork with an idea of the experiences of those people in the community whom we support.”
‘It Starts With A Meal’ forms the central theme of various activities taking place to mark 50 years of the Brothers’ service, an indication of how those who first attend the Good Shepherd in need of food are also then able to access other support, including initiatives like the art class.
BAS9 is being put together by Hayward Gallery Touring and takes place every five years, with this year’s show curated by Irene Aristizabal and Hammad Naser.
- The exhibition at the Good Shepherd – It Starts With A Meal – will run from April 7-10. Admission will be free but pre-booking will be required. Details will be announced as soon as they are finalised.