By Martin Dawber
As well as always providing a stimulating calendar of exhibitions throughout the year, Southport Contemporary Arts is also valued for its delivery of wellbeing at community level for all Sefton based artists through its extensive portfolio of drop-in classes at ArtsLoft and ClayWorks in the town centre.
The diversity and experimentation of its participants will now go on show at the SCA Gallery in Eastbank Street this September.
Running classes for beginners as well as more advanced artists, the exhibition will also include work from SCA’s Young Creatives Art Club and its adult Autism Friendly class.
SCA grew out of the demand within the town’s creative community to raise its profile around the region for painters, textile artists, filmmakers, photographers, printmakers, sculptors, jewellers, musicians, poets and performance-based artists.
Over the last year there have been regular oil painting, textiles, throwing, felting and mixed-media classes.
Additional workshops have covered such topics as willow animals, book binding, sculpture, illuminated lettering, mosaic and stained glass.
The SCA network celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2019 and since its inception it has annually gone from strength to strength, adding the ‘ClayWorks’ studio in May 2016, in response to the need for local artists who wanted to work in ceramics.
In April 2017, the suite of craft studios above ‘ClayWorks’ – ‘ArtsLoft’ – was set up to deliver wide ranging art and craft based workshops including printing, felting, knitting and crochet, textiles, portraiture and life drawing, oil painting and an autistic friendly group.
In accord with its all-embracing policy to engage with as many local artists and practitioners as possible, a stair lift has been added to provide full access to the first floor studio space.
Keeping the groups deliberately small, Norrie Beswick Calvert, one of the SCA directors, said: “Our aim is to offer our community accessible and affordable classes and workshops in a wide range of creative areas.
“We know that time out in a creative and supportive environment gives us opportunity and confidence to learn new skills and can boost our mental state as well as enable us to make new friends.”
Regular classes provide encouragement to work on varied projects with each class leader giving instruction and advice to help improve skills while producing the work.
Workshops can be a ‘one-off’ experience or become regular weekly classes.
Once introduced to the basics of a skill or craft, individuals are then able to develop at their own pace.
Most of the workshops are repeated regularly to provide the opportunity to refresh practice or be guided to the next level of expertise.
Ann Rouse from the Friday morning Art Class certainly welcomes the opportunity: “I look forward to our weekly class and always feel I learn something new each week. Class lifts me and especially at the moment as I have treatment for my Cancer, I honestly don’t know what I’d do without that weekly shot of positivity.”
In the upcoming exhibition visitors will have the opportunity to see what the students having been getting up to in class and also have the chance to buy some beautiful 2-D and 3-D work.
More information about the current series of workshops and classes can be found at www.sca-network.co.uk or by emailing at email@example.com.
The Mixed-Classes artwork will be on display at the ArtHouse, Eastbank Street from 14th September – 25th September 2021.
The gallery is open Tuesday – Friday 10am-3pm, and Saturday 11am-4pm.
In line with current Government guidance, the SCA team has introduced strict measures to keep visitors to the Gallery as safe as possible. There will be a policy of two visitors at a time, with social distancing once inside, and hand sanitiser dispensers at the door to use on arrival.