Q & A WITH CHOLE FROM CURATING COVENTRY
So Chloe tell me why you started Curating Coventry?
I met Chloe Morgan around the time I started putting on Feel Good events. We connected over our passions for Coventry’s creative scene. We regularly bumped into each other at different cultural events. We spoke about doing a collab for a looking time but thankfully we managed to pull it out the bag! People Like Us & #ArtChatCov Collab happened on the third Wednesday in June. It was a beautiful occasion were lots of connections made and more people agreed to write guest blogs – keep tuned as we will be hitting the publish button fairly regularly over the coming weeks!
So Chloe Tell Me why did you start curating Coventry?
Since moving to Coventry in the year 2000 to study Fine Art, I’ve always felt that Coventry had a great grassroots visual arts scene, and regularly attended exhibitions with friends.
I had fallen into various marketing roles since graduating and in 2017 I decided to launch my freelance career specialising in social media consultancy working in the arts sector.
Curating Coventry was initially planned as a 12-week social media project with the objectives of showcasing the city’s visual arts whilst encouraging the public to engage with them more, and also to help raise the profile of artists living in the city.
I really didn’t anticipate it gaining momentum as quickly as it did and the feedback from many of Coventry’s artists was that it was filling a missing gap in the city. It became a platform for people who wanted to keep in the loop about news and forthcoming events on visual arts happenings in Coventry.
How long have you been going?
I first launched the blog along with the Facebook. Twitter and Instagram pages in May 2017.
Why did you start #ArtChatCov
I ran the first #ArtChatCov in November 2017 as a live online discussion to encourage artists and arts organisations in Coventry to form a live dialogue. It was an opportunity for people to discuss and showcase projects that they are working on and promote what they are up to. I put the feelers out to see if people wanted to make it a regular Twitter meet-up and it had a good uptake so it has become a monthly online networking event. It’s been wonderful to see genuine friendships forming on there, and artists who have met through #ArtChatCov then going on to collaborate for future exhibitions
If you had to pick your 5 fave arts experiences since starting Curating Coventry what would they be and why?
Oooh tough question. If I had to whittle it down to 5, I think they’d be:
The inaugural Coventry Biennial of Contemporary Art (Autumn 2017) – the biggest and most ambitious Visual Arts festival that the city had ever seen showcasing the work of both emerging and established artists on an international scale.
In November 2019 one exhibition that particularly stood out was the launch of ’We Are Luminous’ – a moving image forum in the atmospheric basement at Classroom. I loved the selection of new media works on display and holographic glasses were handed out so you could view the work with a whole new dimension.
Coventry University Drawing Prize always makes for a good exhibition to visit. Although it’s “Drawing Prize” there’s normally a good mixture of artistic medium on display by artists who have been connected with the uni in some way or another.
In November 2018 I attended the showing of “Sphere” at Coventry’s wonderful Shop Front Theatre, which was a moving collection of works by 7 performance artists responding to the question “Are we where we are?”. A thought-provoking blend of poetry, comedy, talks, and spoken word.
Back in Autumn 2017, Scratch The Surface – Dialogue by the team behind the work of The Pod, Coventry put together an 11-day Mental Health Arts Festival. The aim of the festival was to celebrate the provocative and vanguard and bought together a vast programme of cultural activists and arts organisations both local, national and international. It was sensitively executed and addressed many taboo subject matters in an incredibly liberating way. A remarkable, inspiring and thought-provoking event.
What do you do that helps you to Feel Good?
Juggling work and Curating Coventry around 3 young children leaves me with little time to myself, but I do always make sure I snatch away moments where I can just sit, breath, and be mindful and present in the moment. I love practising yoga when I can. Sunpower is my favourite type of yoga as it’s incredibly invigorating and uplifting – especially if you get the chance to practice it outdoors.
I’ve recently begun dabbling in poetry which I find incredibly cathartic. It has been a great outlet to help me to navigate through some incredibly anxious times during lockdown
One random fact about yourself
I can make my ears wiggle all by themselves 😀
If you were going to be stranded on an island what book, album, food and creative activity would you take and why?
Book – Eckhart Tolle ‘The Power of Now’ – to remind me to tune into spiritual awareness.
Album – ooooh tough one. I think Massive Attack Protection – an all-time fave. (however it doesn’t feature “Tear Drops” on there, so may have to sneak that in my backpack too) 😉
Food – a tasty vegan curry
Creative Activity – acrylic paints and lots of canvas!
Where did your creative journey start?
I remember as a little girl I used to write and illustrate my own books “I would like to be an author” I would say. Then when I was around 10 years old, I developed a huge enjoyment for analytical drawing and started to discover painting in my teenage years. My Fine Art Degree then gave me the opportunity to explore other creative mediums such as screen printing, textiles and sculpture.
What do you love about Coventry?
The city has such a rich history and a sense of resilience. I really gain a feeling of community about the city, and there are lots of really positive movements happening (such as the work that you’re involved with) which brings together people across all walks of life.
Artists to watch/lookout for?
This city has so much talent, which is why I run the “Artist of the Week” on Curating Coventry to showcase the work of our city’s finest.
Three artists whose work has stood out and I’ve particularly connected with recently are:
Sherrie Edgar who works in a number of digital and moving image-based medium, film and photography exploring themes of loneliness and isolation.
Jessica Timmis, an artist who has been a huge inspiration to me lately. Her work explores aspects of motherhood and touches me on a personal level. She has inspired me to get back into my own creativity to help me navigate parenting through the current climate.
Ryan Hart who is studying a Fine Art degree at Coventry University. His work has been exploring a number of themes including race politics, the human condition and how this has lead to various existential questions. I’ve enjoyed following him on Instagram and seeing work that he’s previously exhibited at the Classroom and the Herbert.
Hopes and dreams for Curating Coventry?
I would love to become the go-to platform for anyone interested in finding out more about Coventry’s Visual Arts scene. Once lockdown is over, I’m planning on attending more events and writing up more regular exhibition reviews.
Through Curating Coventry I also run workshops and training to teach artists how they can utilise their own social media platforms to raise their profile and reach wider audiences. I plan on making these more of a regular event next year.
What do you do for work?
My day job is working with a number of arts organisations as a freelance social media marketing consultant.
You can find Curating Coventry on www.curatingcoventry.co.uk
People Like Us
What is the People Like Us Festival?
Coventry’s own creative health festival. Monday 6th – Sunday 12th July 2020.
Designed and made for the people by the people. Celebrating the power of arts and creativity.
People Likes Us can come together to create opportunities, to dream, to co-create, to do things, to make things, to think about things, to rebel against things, to change things. But most of all to explore our creativity and connect with new people.
What can we create together that will have a positive impact on our health and wellbeing?
Although the online festival is over we are still wanting to make some noise about Coventry and Warwickshire’s creatives. Check out the other guest blogs – plus there are still more to come so follow along on Facebook and Instagram
If you are a local creative with a passion for the arts and creativity and would like to write a guest blog or feature on one of our podcasts then get in touch…