We talk to Creative Future – making art more diverse

Could you tell us a bit about Creative Future?
Creative Future was established in 2007 with the aim of making the arts more diverse and representative of the world we live in. A national charity based in Brighton, we specialise in working with under-represented artists. We provide skills training, mentoring, exhibiting, promoting and publishing opportunities to talented artists who lack access to opportunities due to mental health issues, disability, health, identity or other social circumstances. We’re unique in the breadth of people we work with and the depth in which we work with them.

How did you select the artists for the ‘13’ exhibition?
The works of the thirteen artists in our exhibition have been carefully selected for their excellence. We worked closely with the artists over the past two years during the process of creating and launching our online shop that sells limited edition, high quality art prints. All our artists experience barriers in accessing the mainstream art world. We offer them professional development and ongoing support to ensure they are all at a point where they feel ready to sell and market their work.

This group of artists is hugely diverse and their work features a wide variety of styles and mediums, all of which are for sale via our online shop. Collectively, these artists have exhibited in over a hundred group and solo exhibitions in the UK and internationally.

What do the artists most hope to gain from taking part in AOH?
Our artists are really keen to get their work ‘out there’ and be seen by a wider audience. For all our artists, the opportunity to exhibit in such a prestigious festival is really magical. They’re hoping they can reach a captive audience of art lovers and people interested in investing in their work directly through the Artist Open Houses.

How did your partnership with Barker and Stonehouse come about?
Barker and Stonehouse we’re really keen to use the Artists Open Houses festival as a new way of making more connections with the city of Brighton & Hove and their local community. Since they opened in 2017, their aim has been to make their retail space not just a place to display beautiful furniture, but a community destination. They wanted to do something that would give back to the local community, and allow artists to use their infrastructure to display their work.

They were immediately attracted by Creative Future and our mission to engage and inspire under-represented artists and give talented people a platform. We have great audiences locally, regionally and nationally, and we jumped at the opportunity to invite a broad range of our supporters to the exhibition and hoped it would bring lots of new local people in to the store.

Is there any feedback the artists would like to give us?
It’s been fantastic to be part of such an established arts festival embedded in the culture of Brighton and Hove. It’s allowed us to reach a much wider local audience and we’ve seen a significant increase in traffic to our online shop as a direct result of the exhibition, as well as making more sales of artwork which was a key goal for us! We’ve found the Artists Open Houses team to be incredibly supportive and a great help in promoting our exhibition. We’d certainly be keen to be a part of the festival again in the future.

All artwork on display in the exhibition is available to buy as limited edition prints  through Creative Future’s online shop. www.shop.creativefuture.org.uk

Credit for all photographs: Ellen Shaw

Barker & Stonehouse