Art & Design blog

The Midas Touch Exhibition, curated by Kerry Campbell

Artist / designer:   Kerry Campbell
Article author:   Ricky Thakrar
Published:   Tue, 27 Aug 2013

Kerry Campbell is curating an exhibition highlighting the breadth of talent brewing beneath her hometown’s sometimes negative reputation. Kerry studied art at Luton Sixth Form College and Barnfield College in Luton, before graduating from Reading University with a Fine Art BA (Hons) degree.

“The idea behind ‘The Midas Touch’ exhibition came from my desire to give something back to the town to which I owe my upbringing.  The exhibition explores the working class consumer habits of Luton, and represents the fighting spirit of tenacious creative individuals succeeding despite their humble backgrounds. It’s a celebration of these people and a celebration of their town.”

An open submission process for the exhibition is designed to provide a rare opportunity for talented individuals, regardless of background. Selected artists include Barnfield College tutor Anna Fairchild, who has exhibited throughout the UK, and Cheltenham School of Art graduate Stephen Whiting, previously shortlisted for the prestigious awards Becks New Contemporaries and Jerwood Drawing Prize. Other exhibitors include graduates from the University of Bedfordshire and ex-students from both Luton Sixth Form College and Barnfield College.

Kerry made sure from a very early stage that the project could successfully exist without external funding, with each participating artist contributing a small fee towards curatorial costs. She then considered investments that would further improve the exhibition’s community reach, including improved lighting, access to more DIY materials and equipment, and higher volume promotional printing. When she found herself at a loose end for this additional funding, she turned to the Co-operative.

“I bank with the Co-operative, and have always regarded the brand as very community-centred.  So I enquired about their funding for community projects, and they directed me to the Co-operative Community Fund.  There’s a lot of stigma attached with applying for arts funding – you often hear about the frustrations associated with lengthy processes and the unlikelihood of ever successfully securing any finance for your project – but the meticulous planning and relentless research paid off.  It was a huge surprise when the Co-operative Community Fund got back to me a few weeks later, notifying me of the successful application and proposing to grant the funding.”

The Midas Touch exhibition opens Saturday 21 September, with a small selection of works on show at UK Centre for Carnival Arts (UKCCA) from Thursday 26 September. Visit The Midas Touch website for more information.

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