View of Gloucester skyline from a window of Clapham Court

Clapham Court gives rise to Community Art

From the first weekend in November, a collaboration of artists and residents of Clapham Court took ten flats to tell the stories hidden within the walls of a building now destined for demolition.

Flats on different floors of Clapham Court, in the Kingsholm neighbourhood, have been matched with artists from across a variety of disciplines – including photographers and puppet makers, dancers, sculptors and textile artists. Visitors can expect to see found materials absorbed into sculpted artwork, knitted and crocheted household goods, origami miniatures, and graffiti art.

“When a building that has offered social housing for six decades is knocked down, there is a risk that the residents’ lives and the vertical community they created is be lost in the rubble” says Jacqui Grange, artist and Director of Creative Solutions, the project’s lead.

“This building, which is a neighbour to the famous rugby ground and has shared the skyline with Gloucester Cathedral, has been the only multi-storey social housing in the city, and it will soon disappear from the landscape. So before that happens, ten artists have worked with past and present residents to create artworks in the flats, recording and celebrating the lives lived there, its evolving architecture, the creation of a community and the epic views that won’t belong to anyone else ever again.”

One of the flats is opening early to mark Black History Month. “De Front Room was originally displayed in Gloucester’s Picturedrome back in July  to mark the 75th anniversary of HMT Empire Windrush arriving at the Port of Tilbury in 1948” explains artist Rider Shafique. “Now we’re exhibiting the installation at Clapham Court which gives us an opportunity to broaden the reach to the wider community – to share this  important story about the contribution of the Windrush generation to the city”.

This community project is co-funded by community-led heritage organisation, Voices Gloucester, which has worked with Gloucester City Homes. “In making the difficult decision to replace Clapham Court, we’ve aimed to take great care of our tenants on the route to demolition” explains GCH’s Director of Homes & Sustainability, Robert Panou. “This opportunity to record the stories of this place and make art with the people who’ve lived there is unique to us and we’re delighted to support it.”

Opening times:

Saturday 11th November 2pm – 8pm
Sunday 12th November 2pm – 8pm

Or to attend a tour during the week 9 – 5 by appointment only;
Wednesday 8th November
Thursday 9th November
Friday 10th November

Participating artists and groups include: Tyler Attwood, Caroline McCatty, Adam Coleman, Josie Evans, Amy Freeman, David Grange, De Front Room, Jacqui Grange, Kim Kenny, Kingsholm School, Independent Living Art Group, Rider Shafique, Jo Teague, Georgia Williams.

There will also be special guest contributions from Clapham residents past & present.