Brian McClure, our Artist in Residence at Omnibus, works with St Mungo’s, a charity that helps people recover from the issues that create homelessness.
From the beginning of 2014, when Omnibus opened, the Visual Arts team began working with other organisations that run community workshops and events. Here is Brian’s account in his own words of his week working with St Mungo’s and other charities:
“As usual on Tuesdays, on 30th August, I went to the St Mungo’s Well Being Centre in Wix’s Lane. Jeanette Rourke has runs a weekly Well Being Day in Wix’s Lane in Clapham throughout the year, for the St Mungo’s homeless charity. On every Tuesday there is regular Reiki, ear acupuncture and ping-pong and table football. We have had laughter workshops, writing workshops, film-making and opera workshops with the StreetWiseOpera team from the Royal Opera House. We are also involved in theatre, and a collaboration with the Young Vic evolved into a collective production with six other community arts groups. We also put on two self-devised theatre productions performed at Omnibus by “The Born to Shine Collective”. Omnibus Visual Arts have been creatively involved in many of them, running planned workshops, encouraging creativity. All the art that is made is photographed for publication in “Homeless Diamonds” art magazine alongside prose and poetry from the Well Being Day and other St Mungo’s workshops.
On Wednesday 31st August I heard music by The Coolness, Omid Jazi, Paula Wichall, and Chris Tymkow and Thomas Plyska at St Gile’s church, WC2. Lupus Alba (White Wolf) is a company set up to provide creative environments for marginalized communities and to prove the socially cohesive nature of the arts. They work with the Peabody Trust and St Mungo’s. One of their musicians, Paula Wichall, has performed her songs very successfully at Omnibus at several events, including a launch event for “Homeless Diamonds”#27 in 2015. They have a free live event for new music by Lupus Alba performers at St Giles-in-the-Fields Church, at the top of Denmark Street WC2, on the last Wednesday of the month.There has been a church on the same site since 1101. The present building has a magnificent palladian interior from 1733, which makes a good back-drop for the songs of Lupus Alba.
On Thursday 1st September I was part of a group taken to look at the David Hockney “82 Portraits and One Still-Life” exhibition at the Royal Academy in Piccadilly. After discussing the work, we returned to the ornately gilded and lavishly decorated room over the main entrance where the Royal Academy Club members then made portraits of each other in different ways and compared results. The Royal Academy has been inviting people from St Mungo’s to take part in their workshops since the beginning of the year and I was encouraged to go along by a regular participant at the Well Being Day. As well as enjoying taking part in the workshops with a very diverse group of art enthusiasts, I have talked to the Royal Academy team about what Omnibus and the WBD have been doing. They are very interested in Omnibus and our work.
Many of London’s best-known arts organisations have community workshops. They give creative space to vulnerable and marginalized people and produce very interesting and engaging work.”
St Mungo’s: www.mungos.org
Homeless Diamonds magazine: www.homelessdiamonds.org.uk
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