Storefront was transformed into a place where artists could experiment, engage new audiences, share and present work work and test ideas. It became a place where local people and visitors could interact with the production of new artworks by internationally recognised and local artists, all of whom had a different take on how we represent ourselves and our community and our sense of belonging (or not) within the public realm. The work was and still is being shared publicly across the town promoting temporary, performance based and ephemeral interventions. The programme included;
Awareness Luton created a fascinating mosaic of opinions and attitudes in and about Luton through the ever-changing messages found on the back of t-shirts.
Participation – Lutonians were invited to design their own t-shirts based on their thoughts and feelings about their home town and be photographed wearing them in key locations across the town.(comment from display of T-shirts: “My T-shirt would say ‘Grateful’, thanks for bringing art to Luton”.
Sarah Baker Perfumes transformed Luton’s aptly named Storefront into a glamorous ‘Harrods’ like perfume shop. The artists created bespoke and glamorous fragrances as a unique art installation featuring customised windows and a perfume counter.
Participation – Visitors enjoyed discussing perfumes with the helpers in costume and the Artist and through wearing the perfume, wore the artwork. Social media comment:- “You should really all be here. Sarah Baker Perfume launch. They are only £50 and they are gorgeous. (We made Lace and Tartan)”
Based in, Storefront part exhibition, part installation of 1970s’ imagery and artefacts telling the story of Luton at the time. Local people were invited to submit photographs, press cuttings, imagery which were incorporated into the emerging exhibition and installation.
Participation – Public talks from local Artists about Luton’s Punk Rock and Jazz Funk scenes during the late 1970s also formed part of the exhibition , and a 1970s Vauxhall car, made in Luton for the opening.
Based in Storefront, working across film, drawing, ice sculptures and text, Luton based Artists Abi Spendlove investigates and celebrates the river Lea. Responding to the original Anglo Saxon meaning ‘Bright River’.
Participation – Abi devised a series of workshops and events to engage people and help develop work. She Created a word poem on the gallery wall with contributions from people visiting the gallery and attending, events, including, walks, a writers group and a toddler group. John Hegley supported the exhibition not only performing his Luton poem but also creating a new river Lea poem for Tributary.
Clarke’s life and work are inspired by Sufism – the mystical aspect of Islam. Sufism requires a temporary loss of one’s own ego and an immersion in the universal. Inspired by Sufism she created sculptural fabric installations and paintings.
Participation – Asiya, a Luton based opening enjoyed discussing her work at her opening and she discussed her work and beliefs on a local radio station, Inspire FM
Polish artist Karolina Lebek, explores her Lemko heritage through the medium of traditional song and singing as one of the factors that continue to unite this now dispersed community. Karolina Lebek has lived and worked in Luton for many years and graduated from the University of Bedfordshire, before studying at the Royal College of Art.
Participation – Karolina showed a videos and photography and created a performance with Susannah Stark from Glasgow at her opening event.
BIO-ORCHESTRA BY Gayle Storey
Testbeds Artist Gayle Storey, from Luton, who has been working with the University of Bedfordshire, spent 7th April taking readings, drawing and presenting her work to the public as part of her Bio-orchestra project working in partnership with the Royal College of Music and Luton Schools.
Gayle was with the work all day and explained to the about the project.
Would you Patent the Sun? By Natalie Andrews
Natalie Andrews an MA student from the University of Bedfordshire was given 4 days in Storefront to create an installation on the ideas on ownership and talk to the public about her work.
Participation – Natalie stayed in Storefront, and was pleased to be able to talk to the Luton audience and develop ideas
This was Dominic from Luton’s visual love letter to his home town. Uniting the anarchic energy of British contemporary art with a view of the world honed in Luton. It is a journey from the 1970s to the present, a tragi-comic personal history which re-visits some of the most spectacular moments on Dominic’s often contradictory journey.
Participation –Opening Event – Sunday 13th May – a discussion about his work with Curator Matthew Shaul . Closing Event – Saturday 2nd June – with Ashley Holmes DJ, playing and showing film ‘Ask about the good times’ the music helped to encourage people off the street to come into Storefront and see Dominic’s work.
An exhibition of works on paper by Berlin based Artist, Veit Laurent Kurz. This has been curated by Andrew Hunt as a prelude to Veit Laurent Kurz’s mural for Luton town centre.Veit Laurent Kurz was born in Germany in 1985 and is represented by Weiss Falk, Basel; Johan Berggren Gallery, Malmo; and Isabella Bortolozzi, Berlin.
Participation – Public Art Artist Sophie Gresswell to enhance her professional practice worked with Russell Oxley who is assisting with realising the mural drawn by Veit Laurent Kurz.
Tom Hackett took a wheel barrow into Luton to get people to participate in writing about their regrets, which were then barbequed. He created an installation of fabric works and sound installations in Storefront, on the theme of regrets.
Participation: There was an opening barbeque and reception in the street inviting people to come into the show on 22nd September and at the end of the show there was an event called ‘A song for Luton’ where Tom Hackett and Julian Woodcock did a street performance using megaphones to list songs with hopes and regrets.
Shaun Armstong showed a selection of his photography showing the state of old Hat Factory buildings in the cultural quarter.
Participation There was an opening which showed Shaun’s work and Shaun was happy to discuss his work and influences to those who came
Catrine Val an internationally regarded photographer, has been exploring in her work the important part that clothing plays and the various identities women have.
Participation – There was an opening event on 17th January and a closing party and celebration on International Women’s Day, Friday 8th March.