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Friday, 26 November 2010

The Art Experiment at Totterdown

The Front Room Art Trail has been running each November in the Totterdown area of South Bristol for ten years. It's enormously popular; people open their homes and display work that is either their own or by the hundreds of artists who apply to take part each year. I used to love looking round these houses, enjoying the spirit of trust and community the event engendered, and wish that my church, Totterdown Baptist, could somehow be part of it. I think I thought that the church, with its focus on evangelism through words, wouldn't be interested, and that the Front Room committee, being rather arty, would look down on the church.

This changed very quickly when the trail decided to expand its borders and ask us to take part.. I don't get to look round many houses now, because for the last four years the church has hosted an exhibition of  between 15 and 20 artists each year. Every year I manage a waiting list of those trying to reserve a space. Every year the church serves teas, coffees, and lots of homemade cakes and chats to the wider community as they stream through on Saturday and Sunday. Front Room has become our front room, where the neighbours come in and have a chat. Some of them have become friends.Who knows how many of them see us very differently - or notice us at all - as a result.

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