Joe Tymkow - Fringe Arts Bath
During a show of my artwork at The Octagon, Milsom Street in May 2011 I met one of Bath’s Big Issue vendors. He talked enthusiastically about his own photography and drawings, stayed about an hour and returned later in the week with a few friends.
It occurred to me that we rarely see artwork produced by homeless people themselves; that there must be quite a number that either already make work, or would like to be able to if they had the opportunity/facilities.
After visiting the Big Issue office and discussing my idea of presenting artwork produced by some of the homeless people in Bath to the public, my contact details were passed on to Bath Abbey. As a result Kerry Headen got in touch and told me about the ‘Think Different’ show that she had been organising at the Abbey for the past two years. It comprised a combination of painting, photography, drawing, craft, furniture restoration, allotment produce etc, and that several other organisations in the Bath area were also involved.
I was unaware of the 'Think Different' project and it seemed reasonable to assume that a large number of other people in Bristol, Bath and the surrounding area must be equally unaware of the work that the Abbey and other Bath-based agencies are doing.
As the show at the Abbey took place during the week before the Bath Fringe Festival it seemed an ideal opportunity to take a selection of the artwork and relocate it to the FaB venue in Stall Street; this then extended the exposure for a further two weeks and, more importantly, opened up the work being done by the artists and agencies involved to a much wider audience, particularly to those that would not necessarily have the opportunity to visit the Abbey during the short time that the exhibition is on.
The Opening night of the FaB Festival was officially from 6pm - 9pm on Friday 25th May, in fact so many people came that it stayed open till 11pm. Over 6500 people visited the Stall Street venue during the 17 days of the Festival, with quite a number specifically asking to see the artwork from the Abbey.