This Year at Fabrica
Next month, at our first ever Programme Launch we’ll be introducing the exciting new exhibitions and artist projects we’ll be hosting at Fabrica this year. But in planning for the future we’ve also been looking back over 2019 to reflect on some memorable moments.
In what turned out to be a tumultuous and divisive year in British and world politics, Fabrica concentrated on bringing people together through creative and cultural experiences.
Our artistic programme brought world-class contemporary art to thousands of visitors - providing encounters with art that moved and challenged in equal measure:
Fabrica’s ‘experimental’ winter season presented three works-in-progress by artists Anna Walker, Maria Amidu, and Annis Joslin with Sarah Cole, each piece exploring a different aspect of trauma through audio-visual installation. Meanwhile photographer Alan Compton’s Unheard Voices, for the In Between Gallery, highlighted healthcare inequalities facing migrant communities in the UK.
For Brighton Festival, the tactile, vivid yellow ‘tapestries’ of Serge Attukwei Clottey invited us to understand much more about his Afrogallonism projects, which reflect on the post-colonial and environmental conditions affecting Ghana.
Summer 2019 saw the exuberance and creative freedom of Putting Ourselves in The Picture which we developed with our commissioning partner, Project Art Works. Here, artists Sara Dare, Annis Joslin and Jo Offer created an artist’s studio and exhibition that gave everyone the chance to create art and be exhibited at Fabrica, regardless of age, ability or professional training.
In June and September, the In Between Gallery showcased photographs by Clementine Schneidermann, giving us a window into the world of teenage girls from the South Wales Valleys.
And in October Lindsay Seers premiered Care(less), her first work using VR technology, creating a hallucinatory experience as beautiful as it is chilling. This new commission, produced by Fabrica, the universities of Brighton, Birmingham and Lincoln, Threshold Studios and Ikon gallery is supported by the Wellcome Research Enrichment Fund and seeks to highlight new research about older people’s experience of care that they pay for themselves.
Alongside all of these creative projects we held over 200 talks and discussions, hands-on activities and film screenings for over 3,000 people, both here in the gallery and in community settings. From GP surgeries to social housing, holiday lunch clubs and Men in Sheds we’ve helped more people to be creative and gain access to arts experiences that challenge and inspire. Fabrica’s amazing volunteers have helped us achieve all this, giving over 3,000 hours of their time to enable us to make it all happen.
Of course, sustaining Fabrica financially remains important too. Thanks to the Heritage Fund, last year we restored the historic floors and stained glass windows in the exhibition hall. It feels wonderful to have brought these aspects of our lovely building back to their former glory and we’re sure that those who hire our space will feel the same too.
2019 also saw the launch our membership scheme, FOREVERFABRICA and we began to sell items in a new Fabrica shop, which will also sell online in the coming months. All this is so important to generating new income Fabrica, for filling the gap left by the shrinking public purse and enabling us to sustain our work and grow as an organisation.
As we look forward to the rest of the year, I’d like to invite you to come along to our Programme Launch and Fundraiser, which will be 6- 10 pm on the 19 March. We’ll be unveiling our main creative projects for 2020 and it’s going to be a great evening packed with information and entertainment, with contributions from 2020 exhibiting artists, a performance by digital artist Seb Lee Delisle and music by Sie Medway Smith.
Finally, I’d like to say thank you for supporting Fabrica throughout 2019. With your continued interest and support we will continue to present unique and thought-provoking work, connect with our community through arts-based activities and show Brighton & Hove and the world how important creativity - in all its guises – really is.