The Clapton Arts Trust – an exciting opportunity to offer your skills and input

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This is an invitation to get involved in some exciting initiatives, and a request for certain expertise. Please get in touch if you can contribute expertise, skills and or time, or know anyone who may be able to do so.

One initiative that has started in Clapton recently, with it’s focus on both the built environment and the arts, is the Clapton Arts Trust (CAT). I have mentioned this in one or more previous e-mails and this was set up last year, supported in spirit by CPNAG, to provide some cohesion to the various current campaigns and projects, and hopefully future ones, that are happening in Clapton in these fields.

The Trust wants to regenerate local historic buildings to supply studio space to artists and an education program of workshops and classes taken by professional working artists and musicians, whilst at the same time preserving the building and a piece of Clapton’s architectural heritage. The idea is to create a sustainable, self generating income for the trust to enable other projects and exhibitions as well. The photographer, Tom Hunter and the London Assembly Member for North East London, Jennette Arnold, are Patrons of the trust.

The particular capaigns it is currently covering are The Tram Shed (One of the last remaining Victorian tram depots, just north of the Lea Bridge roundabout), The Clapton Cinematograph (A Victorian Cinema, more recently used as a night club, just south of same roundabout) and the Old School Room (off the Leabridge Road – due to be converted into a River Heritage Museum). We are sure there will be more along the way.

In speaking with The Clapton Arts Trust there are certain things that would make a big difference to the work they are trying to do, and to the possibility of saving these buildings. The following outlines what hey are looking for.

1. Can a way be found to buy the Tram Depot and/or The Cinema? Fundraising experts sought!

Julia Lafferty, one of the main activists in the friends of The Clapton Cinematograph, and David White, one of the main activists in the campaign to save the Tram Shed, have both spent a fair amount of time and energy looking for possible benefactors or sources of funding to purchase these buildings. to date, this has been unsuccessful. Also, funding is being sought to help restore the Old Schoolroom, and to pay for refurbishment of some other old units to convert them into studios for artists and as teaching spaces.

This is all intended for the benefit of the community and, as said above, to preserve some of Clapton’s heritage. However, given the results so far, it would be understandable if we had all reached the point of view that it just wasn’t going to happen and why bother.

However, they, and the rest of us within the Clapton Arts Trus and CPNAG, are not taking that stance. Our attitude is that the funds are out there, for these projects, and future ones, and we just haven’t found them yet, and this is where you all come in. Some of you, we are sure, have expertise in this kind of field, and we want to put together a crack team to work together and make this happen, however unlikely that may look at times.

So, if you have those skills, or think you might be good at that and just want to play, please be in touch and we’ll get together and set to work.

In addition to this, the Clapton Arts Trust are looking for the following expertise, all currently pro-bono:

2. A hands on treasurer for the Clapton Arts Trust

This will ideally be someone who already has a connection to the art world and/or other community organisations with charitable aims or community interest companies. The person in this role will need to administer donations and gift aid.

3. An architect

This will ideally be someone with an interest in historic buildings and their refurbishment/restoration. The Trust urgently needs help with an alternative vision for the Old Tram Depot to the 83 flat re-development currently proposed.

4. A surveyor

For various projects on behalf of CAT and other local Clapton charitable groups, specifically in the first instance, to take a look at 2 Victorian work units each around 2,000 sq ft to check if there’s any asbestos present and also being able to verify the structural integrity of the building. The Trust needs this done before it decides if it’s worth taking the units on to provide art and craft workshops in them. As it’s very early days on this specific project, there is no funding yet, so the survey would need to be done for free.

5. Professional working artists, sculptors, musicians and especially fashion designers

As the Trust moves forward, these skills are required in order to take workshops and short courses for the Trust’s educational programme.
Professionals will be required for both adult education evening and weekend classes as well as to provide workshops for a new Art Foundation (access) course the B6 Sixth Form College is starting this Sept as part of its over 16 yrs “B7” educational provision.
Artists do not need to be CRB checked or have teaching qualifications, but are needed to be currently working professionals. CAT is however very selective and aims to provide workshops taken by well known and leading professionals.

6. Anyone with ideas or energy, however much time you may have, to help move all this forward.

So, please be in contact. Please let us know what you can offer. Please put other people in contact with us who you think could offer something. This will happen as a result of the community working together and hopefully our lives will all be richer for it, and just from having been part of the process.

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