East Somerset Railway
An artist-led project, curated by the South West artist group IN:CH, is bringing contemporary art out of the gallery and into Cranmore. The 11 artists reflect a variety of art forms and here focus on transition, interchange and the transportation of ideas. Forming a portable touring exhibition, the artists will each present contemporary work in a travel case.
These artworks include painting, assemblage, projections and sculptural installations, and will blur the boundaries between. Through these small-scale works, ideas will be shared and transported from one venue to the next. The presentation of the opened cases will vary, responding to the nature and function of each particular setting.
Some of the artists on a picnic, when the idea was born
At each location artists will engage with the audience and, developing from the themes and works in the show, workshops, talks and performances will be arranged, depending on Covid-19 restrictions. The project will broaden the geography of contemporary art and engage others in their own neighbourhoods.
The touring schedule will include libraries, rural museums, festivals, railway stations, village halls and other local venues. All these places will enable interaction with a wide audience and can open up possibilities and the exchange of ideas.
The sites will be plotted as an outwardly mobile spiral across the South West - a metaphor for the migration of ideas, connections and hope.
One of the venues, East Somerset Railway (ESR) in Cranmore, dates back to 1855. The heritage Brunel steam railway station was part of the Strawberry Line, carrying both passengers and rock from local quarries. It is connected to the arts through renowned wildlife artist David Shepherd. His love of steam trains brought him to East Somerset Railway where he painted them. When IN:CH artist Fiona Campbell moved to Cranmore 22 years ago, there was a special gallery for his work at ESR, which has now moved. In fact, Fiona won a David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation 3D prize in 2009.
A popular venue for families and train enthusiasts, the light, steam, tracks, shadows, sounds and smells conjure imaginings of past travel. It is an evocative and meaningful setting for art about transportation of ideas.
Fiona said: "Our aim is to bring art to people who don’t normally experience it. The locations we’ve chosen are unexpected venues. We plan to offer a unique, intriguing exhibition.
"As a Cranmore resident, I’m keen for the project to benefit locals as well as visitors from afar."
Elaine Lavender, ESR commercial officer, said: "We are really looking forward to hosting the Inch by IN:CH exhibition here at the ESR in 2021. We will have our newly-refurbished museum and nostalgic waiting room open by then too, so it will be a great visit for people to look forward to after lockdown."
IN:CH artist Ally McGinn said: "We would like to express our thanks and gratitude to our partners and sponsors, who will be publicly listed on our website and social media platforms.
We would be extremely grateful for any support people are able to offer."
Inch by IN:CH will tour a wide range of venues across the South West, starting at Fringe Arts Bath (May 28 to June 13), visiting ESR in late July, and ending at Somerset Open Studios (September 18 to October 3).
For further information visit: www.inchbyinch.uk, Instagram: @inchbyinchuk, Twitter: @inchbyINCH10.