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Looking Up in New X – crowdfunding opportunity

19 Nov

The Guardian described New Cross as “only for the intrepid”. Well we’re up for that. See here for our latest venture

 

Over the last 10 years Artmongers has been stirring things up in Deptford and New Cross with thought provoking public art that changes the way people relate to space. Taking back ownership of public space encourages all sorts of social benefits – not least the improved sense of well being while you’re taking part.

 

Lest year’s flash mob on the A2 highlighted the challenges pedestrians face getting from one side of New Cross to the other. We didn’t break any traffic rules but we definitely caused a stir. And this year’s campaign to plant 1000 sunflowers has involved hundreds of school children, Goldsmiths University, local businesses and community groups. It brightened up the place and more importantly it encouraged people to realize the possibility that it is our environment and we can choose how it is. Then recently we worked with another RSA supported project – Talk to Me London to create unexpected creative interventions at bus stops in New Cross including a disco.

 

So what’s this Looking Up about then? Two things:

 

  1. In 2011 the council close the local library. 2 months later we reopened on a trial basis as a volunteer library. The venue has been rebranded as New Cross Learning (thanks in part to a Catalyst grant from the RSA) and is now a vibrant community hub with record numbers of visitors
  2. Despite having the highest density of artists in Europe there’s no public art space here.

 

So the new idea is to create a giant 3D lightbox on the ceiling of New Cross Learning then work with local groups and emerging artists to create innovative artworks that change every few months.

 

With your support we can make it happen. Backers get to be part of the creative process and some levels get a piece of art for their home. Everybody knows they are part of transforming an area and empowering local residents – we are beginning to see a snowball effect.

 

Go here to find out more and maybe even back us.

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Talk to Me: SE London Oct 26

28 Oct

talk stop bus stop

Talk to me SE London Week  (26th October -2nd November) is an initiative that will be run in the New Cross Gate area with the aim of encouraging people to talk to each other more!

Throughout the week, we will distribute button badges that read ‘Talk to me London’. By wearing the badge, you show that you’re curious and open to conversation.

We’ll also be organising a series of fun and engaging events in collaboration with local organisations, including a pub quiz, a ‘Talk to me in the library’ day and the ‘Talk Stop Challenge’,  where we transform local bus stops into areas where people can talk!

We’re looking for volunteers  – get in touch at hello@talktomelondon.org

For a full listing of events and ways to get involved, check out:
http://www.talktomelondon.org/events

Looking at the Launderette

29 Jun

IMG_1552

In exploring how creative interventions — what we’re all about here at New X ING —can change the feel of a high street or improve a rundown urban park, we thought we would investigate some local spots where creativity has made a difference.

One such space is Angelo Savoia’s Launderette on New Cross Road. We recently spoke with Angelo to hear how introducing artwork changed how people respond to what would normally be an overlooked spot.

When Angelo Savoia agreed to let Artmongers and New X-ING’s Patricio Forrester introduce some artistic flair to the Launderette on New Cross Road, he wasn’t expecting to turn the shop front into a local attraction. “It’s been brilliant; it’s a focal point. People come in and give us compliments about it. We get people even now taking photographs,” Savoia says.

The focal point is arguably just that. Employing the centuries-old trompe l’oeil (“deceive the eye”) technique in a modern way, Patricio photographed the shop’s gleaming washing machines and then transferred those images to the Launderette’s shop windows. The effect often makes passers-by do a double-take: are the washing machines of that launderette inside or out?

“He came along and looked at it from a completely different angle,” Savoia says, adding that originally he had imagined some simple signage to bring in additional customers and ended up with a landmark. The Launderette’s new frontage came after Patricio unified that particular strip of shops along New Cross Road with waving lines of colour in a project he called the Harmoniser.

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The artist returned to the shop this past winter to build on the windows’ success. In keeping with what Patricio call

s the “otherworldly” effect of the washing machines on the windows, he painted a space scene scattered by flying saucers, or rather, flying tumble dryers. Again, Savoia had originally agreed to an improvement on the faded magnolia walls with a paint colour with the unlikely name of “Pineapple Twist” but then gamely went along with the flying saucers idea. “People come in saying its just a like an 80’s disco,” chimed in the Launderette’s sparky employee Linda. “I don’t know if that’s an insult or a compliment”.

Regardless, Angelo loves the changes and Patricio’s enthusiasm. “Sometimes when you believe in an artist you just have to go with it,” he says. “Patricio’s good…. He takes an interest in the whole community.”

What do you think of the Launderette? Any other spots of successful intervention come to mind? Or spots that could use a shot of creativity?

New-Cross-ifying Goldsmiths

24 May

What do you say to New Cross-ifying Goldsmiths? Recently we had a chance to do just that: get more of New Cross into Goldsmiths.

As you may remember from this post, Goldsmiths is working on a new masterplan, and the college’s imposing presence on the high street means their plans will affect our community. We have ideas to get our community to affect their plans.

So it was great when we heard that Goldsmiths had asked James Dixon, of the architecture and urban design firm John McAslan and Partners (contracted to develop the masterplan) to meet with us earlier this spring to discuss New XING’s many ideas for the area.

High-priority plans we discussed include encouraging Goldsmiths to open up Deptford Town Hall (including us helping them to provide disabled access) for community concerts, performances and meetings. Another simple step to a better relationship will be making the college’s nature reserve open to the community as well as students.

The college has ambitions to build a new building at the corner of St James and New Cross Road. We proposed designing a structure with an open-air ground floor (ie a building on stilts) to give New Cross a much needed town square where citizens and students can gather for conversation, exchange and performances. Of course we also talked about the light projections on Goldsmiths buildings and the great X pedestrian crossing across the A2.

Our proposed creative interventions could make a big impact on the New Cross community and the synergy bewtween the college and the community so we were glad that James was enthusiastic about the ideas. When the college presented their Masterplan in a public consultation during April, they included a board showing our ideas (see below).

Getting our ideas in front of the planners gets us a bit closer to getting our ideas put into practice.

What do you think? Do you have any ideas about how Goldsmiths can impact New Cross? Feel free to comment on this article and join the debate.

community board

1459 CONSULTATION BOARDS A1 community-1

Sunflowers Brighten Spring

20 May
20 cms tall and counting....

20 cms tall and counting….

The sunflowers are making a brave appearance during this often chilly, rainy spring! Here’s a shot of some in our care. We’d love to see any that you’re helping grow. Tweet your pics to @newxing whenever you can!

Goldsmiths Master Plan

30 Apr

There’s still time to have your say – exhibition is in the refectory of the main old building (on Lewisham Way) . Poster display including New X ING ideas. Get along and be heard. This affects all of NeCrossing Postcard bw Cross.

New Cross Grows Summer

24 Apr

New Cross Sunflowers viewing

Where might you find a thousand sunflowers turning their heads towards the sunshine—the French countryside in high summer? Or the A2? One of southeast London’s busiest, grittiest thoroughfares may seem an unlikely spot but it’s true thanks to an unprecedented collaboration between local schools, shops and community groups initiated by New X ING and funded by Grow Wild. In addition to brightening the A2, the flowers will provide much needed foraging for bees in one of the only places  in the country with a growing bee population.

Starting this week, one thousand sunflower seeds will be planted and nurtured in pots in schools and homes across New Cross with a vision to bring growing sunshine to the A2 this summer. Local volunteers from Grow Wild, Greenshoots, Common Growth, New Cross Gate Trust, New Cross Learning, Goldsmiths, local schools, shops and homes will be watching over these small seeds in pots and in beds along the A2 and by the entrance to Sainsbury’s next to the petrol station.

Those plants growing in schools and homes will be transplanted over the next few months, with support and maintenance shared among the community. We hope to explore unusual sites for the sunflowers—billboards, roof terraces, windows, balconies, in shop windows and on the pavements—to create an urban wilderness of sunflowers

By late summer, there should hopefully be a landscape of sunflowers, culminating in a Harvest party in September. We’re excited about making the A2 grow wild, grow beautiful.

If you want to help out let us know (email Artmongers.studio@gmail.com)! Next community planting session is Saturday 27 Apr 1-3.30pm by the entrance to Sainsburys. Or join the seed planting session at New Cross Learning baby bounce session Tues 30 Apr 11am-12pm.