At the heart of this project is a very simple idea: take three canal bridges, three artists, three days in summer and create the world's first towpath pop-up gallery.
It all started on a cold and rainy Sunday afternoon. While out walking Rosie the dog along the towpath on the Trent and Mersey canal. After a short while I stopped to pause for shelter under a bridge, only to find myself staring at the large concrete wall of the underside of the bridge. It was quite, calm and peaceful, the narrow boats, cyclists and dog walkers all using the canal that day passed under the bridge and the wall was there – a big blank canvas. Why not use it for something a bit more interesting. Something a bit more creative.
This is where the idea began, take the space beneath the three canal bridges nearest to our village and use them to show contemporary, local art. Not all the time, just for three days. Three bridges. Three artists. Three days.
Fast forward two years, the idea has been presented to and approved by the Canal and River Trust, three local artists have been recruited to exhibit in the show and now, all we need to do is raise a small amount of money so that we can go ahead and create the world's first towpath pop-up gallery!
Why do it?
Burton's not famous for art. Beer yes, but not art. That said there are a lot of artists in town, it's just that not many people know it. This project is one small way to let people know there's a vibrant creative scene on their own doorstep.
But we don't just want to put art in a gallery and ask people to come and have a look. We want to take the art out of its usual surroundings and put it somewhere new. Somewhere unexpected.
At the very least the Three Bridges Gallery will be a novel event that sticks in the mind and gets people talking, but with a bit of luck and a lot of hard work it could become a unique, inspiring cultural event that the whole community can value, support and enjoy time and time again.
What happens to the money?
Easy. We spend it on the show. The Three Bridges Gallery is a not-for-profit arts organisation. No one gets paid. All time spent organising the exhibition is given for free. So all the money will go on this:
Display materials: £500
We actually need more than this. We also have to pay for:
Public liability insurance: £300
But we have applied for local grants to try and cover the cost of this. The artists and organisers are putting money into the pot too.
Who are the artists?
This exhibition is a group show featuring three young artists, each working in a different medium, living and working in Burton, making modern and thought-provoking work. Philip Grocott is a photographer, Samantha Eynon is an illustrator and Simon Watson is a painter.
This is a free exhibition for the all the community to enjoy so it's important to have a variety of subject matter and mediums to provide a good mix of work on show to suit different tastes.
What's the ambition?
This is the first show of its kind and we want it to be a big success. The money we raise to put on this first show will be used to make display equipment that can be used again and again. And so any money you can pledge will represent a long-term investment in the project and help lay the foundation for a regular and original cultural event that the area can claim as it's own.
We want the Three Bridges Gallery to become something that the local community can be proud to host, then we can go on to develop the project and create more opportunities for people to get involved. After all, we don't just want to show art, we want to inspire, encourage and engage anyone who is interested in thinking and working creatively.
So, if you can, please support our project. By doing so you’ll be investing in our local talent, creativity and community and you'll be helping create the world's first towpath pop-up gallery!