the big issues catalogue 2010

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Watts Gallerys The Big Issues project, offers artist-led workshops for women prisoners at HMP Send and HMP Bronzefield, young people from Surrey Youth Justice Service and two Surrey based art groups; The Cellar and Street Level Arts which include adults living in temporary accommodation, rough sleepers, reformed drug and alcohol users and those with mental health problems.


  • The Big IssuesWatts Gallery


  • The Big Issues2009-10

    Watts Gallery working in partnership with:

    HMP SendHMP BronzefieldSurrey Youth Justice ServiceStreet Level ArtsThe Cellar Art Group

  • Published by Watts Gallery, 2010

    Watts GalleryDown LaneComptonGuildfordSurreyGU3 1DQ 810235

    Edition of 1000 copies

    Project Co-ordinated by Helen Hienkens-LewisHead of Learning. Position supported by the Peter Harrison Foundation

    Design and Editing by Andrew ChurchillMarketing Manager. Position supported by Esme Fairbairn Foundation

    With thanks to:Miranda Ash, Amanda Beswick, Lyn Cannon, Janet Crossley, Sandy Curry, Donna Drummond, Leanne Grindal, Anna Hennings, Tom ONeill, Adrienne Roberts, Nathalie Roset, Kathryn Sole, Sheila Wallis and Mary Wethey. All images and text the artistsWatts Chapel and Archive images Watts Gallery, Compton

    All rights reserved. No part of this catalogue may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying or otherwise, without the prior permission of the publisher and copyright owners.

    The Big Issues project are supported by

  • Perdita Hunt Director of Watts Gallery

    Wattss Victorian England provides an interesting template for our work in the 21st Century. Despite widely held views that Surrey is free from social deprivation, where it exists, there is a serious lack of support, awareness and help.

    The Big Issues project was inspired by G.F. Watts and Mary Wattss passion for providing Art for All manifested through their work in the East End of London, the building of Postmans Park, the creation of the Watts Chapel, the Compton Potters Arts Guild and the founding of Watts Gallery. Reaching out today to excluded groups in prisons, to young offenders, reformed drug users, homeless and recovering alcoholics, the Big Issues project provides the same opportunity for personal transformation, and through art, the development of self worth and new skills.

    We are particularly lucky that each year our Artist in Residence, appointed from the University for the Creative Arts in Farnham, engages with groups, shares their skills and draws inspiration from the Watts collection as the starting point. We are delighted that present and past artists in residence at Watts Gallery are continuing to work with the project as they derive the benefit from working in such challenging situations. This unique ingredient of The Big Issues project, where participants work directly with a practising artist, is providing the positive results that you will read about in this catalogue. It is also in part why we are now being asked to replicate The Big Issues project approach in other settings such as our work with HMP Bronzefield and with The Cellar Art Group.

    This project would not have been possible without the inspiration and determination of the KPMG Foundation, Michael Varah Memorial Fund, MLA Renaissance South East and the Wates Foundation. We are honoured and privileged to revive and refresh the Watts vision of Art for All.

    top Interior of Watts Cemetery ChapelPhotograph by Anne Purkissabove Archive photograph of the Compton Pottery


  • IntroductionHelen Hienkens-Lewis Head of Learning

    The Big Issues programme commenced in 2008 and underpins the Watts Gallery community learning programme, providing art workshops, using the themes of G.F. Watts and Mary Watts, the Watts Gallery Collection and Watts Chapel, in Compton, Surrey.

    The programme began with a series of artist-led workshops for women prisoners at HMP Send, young people in partnership with Surrey Youth Justice and adults from Street Level Arts, a Guildford based art group.

    For all the groups involved, the two exhibitions in London in 2009 at The Belgravia Gallery and the Royal Society of Arts, were well attended and resulted in art work being sold.

    With the project now in its third year, we are continuing to develop our workshop programme for each group, with the wonderful support of our project partners. We have been able to successfully commence working with two new partners; HMP Bronzefield with workshops for women prisoners and The Cellar Art Group, a group based at a caf in Godalming, Surrey. These workshops have been led by Watts Gallery Artists in Residence and supported by volunteers, based on the Big Issues workshop models at HMP Send and Street Level Arts.

    The workshops have reached more than 65 participants, and I continue to be inspired by the artwork produced by the participants, their dedication and the sense of peer support that all the groups provide each other. In celebration of this, I am incredibly thankful to KPMG Foundation who have offered their Salisbury Square office for The Big Issues exhibition in 2010, the third of its kind.

    left MariReflections, 2010HMP Sendabove JasmineHope II, 2010HMP Send

  • HMP Send and HMP Bronzefield

    Surrey Youth Justice Service

    HMP Send is a female training prison, located in Surrey, which provides a supportive environment for prisoners to explore and change behaviours relating to their offending. It has a Resettlement Unit and a Therapeutic Community.

    Sandy Curry, The Michael Varah Artist in Residence provides a wide ranging workshop programme at HMP Send, including workshops for families, young people attending the New Leaf project, open studio sessions, master classes, themed workshop programmes and art mentoring for women prisoners leading the Crime Diversion Scheme.

    HMP Bronzefield is a modern purpose built prison for women which opened in June 2004. It performs the function of a local prison, accepting prisoners direct from the courts and is run by Kalyx.

    Nathalie Roset, Watts Gallery Artist in Residence 2008-09, leads The Big Issues workshop programme at HMP Bronzefield. The workshop programme of designing and decorating the terracotta figures fits into a two-week period set aside by the art tutors to focus on making work for submission to the yearly Koestler Awards.

    Surrey Youth Justice Service aims to prevent offending by children and young people aged1017. It works with young people and their families to reduce the risks associated with offending behaviour and works to strengthen protective factors in the lives of young people.

    Nathalie Roset, Watts Gallery Artist in Residence 2008-09, leads The Big Issues workshop programme for Surrey Youth Justice Service, working with young people who have been excluded from school. The programme runs on a weekly basis over the period of one term, where the young people develop art skills in different media, including photography, book making and clay work.

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  • Street Level Arts

    The Cellar Art Group

    Street Level Arts Group began in 2001 as a popular activity at a local night shelter. The art group began regular workshops thereafter in a local studio so that residents of hostels in Guildford, rough sleepers and people with drug or alcohol issues or mental health problems could carry on developing their art skills. Street Level is a relaxed group where people are able to explore creative activities in a safe environment.

    Adrienne Roberts, a Surrey based ceramic artist has been leading the pottery workshop programme since 2008. This year saw Sheila Wallis, Watts Gallery Artist in Residence 2009-10 lead a series of drawing masterclasses for the group and there was a visit to the Watts Chapel and Tate Britain.

    For over 25 years The Cellar Christian Caf in Godalmings Crown Court has served the local community. The caf is open to everyone in the area and also provides a friendly meeting place where people with problems can meet and discuss them amongst themselves and with staff and volunteer helpers. People of all faiths and none are encouraged to visit The Cellar and take part in activities with no strings attached. There is an atmosphere of acceptance, openness, hope, fun and friendship offered to all.

    Over the years The Cellar has opened its doors to many different disadvantaged or misunderstood groups of people in the community: people with drug or alcohol problems, the unemployed, the homeless and people who have suffered breakdowns or serious illness have been helped. A free simple meal is always available to any who come in need.

    Sheila Wallis, Watts Gallery Artist in Residence 2009-10 led a series of drawing and pottery workshops for the group in 2010, which included a visit to the Watts Chapel.



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  • HMP SendMichael Varah Artist in Residence

    Lyn Cannon Head of Activities and Offender Development HMP Send

    The women serving custodial sentences at HMP Send have been given an opportunity to express their emotions and feelings through their art, facilitated by The Michael Varah Artist in Residence, Sandy Curry. The benefit of Sandys experience has been shared by the women, discussed by the women and challenged by the women, enabling them to produce the art displayed at the exhibition at KPMG Foundation in 2010. Its been a learning curve for all those who have attended - some new and some past participants, and some who thought they couldnt do. Its had an impact on