Another year over, and it was a busy one here at The Lightbox! With exhibitions as varied as the history of comics to the paintings of Constable, art workshops for all ages, a summer family fun festival, comedy nights, film screenings, artist talks, vintage and craft fairs, and much more, it's easy to forget how much we packed into the year. In this blog post, staff from across The Lightbox look back on the year and remember their favourite moments.
UCA Farnham exhibition
Elizabeth Ransom, Marketing Assistant
When I was working as the Exhibitions Intern back in January I was tasked with the curation of The Highlights from the University for the Creative Arts, Farnham exhibition in the Art Fund Prize Gallery. This is hands down one of the highlights of 2016 for me. I had never curated an exhibition before so it was a new and exciting experience. I absolutely loved working with the Photography students from UCA and we had such an amazing turn out for the Private View. I will always remember my first curatorial project here at The Lightbox.
Art in Mind participant Tom Haines with his postcards, now available in The Lightbox Shop
Heather Thomas, Senior Learning and Engagement Officer
My highlight of the year is working with our Art in Mind programme which we have done since 2013. We choose a different artwork each month to look at, which enables us to work with different materials each time. The idea is that the participants respond to the piece, rather than trying to make a copy of it. The sessions are not designed to have anyone feel that they are not capable or that they feel that they used to be able to do much more, it is about their new expression of creativity. Enabling people who are living with the early stages of dementia to learn a new skill and develop ideas that they may not have used before. Seeing how the family members, carers or supporters respond to their loved ones enjoying themselves and not focussing on any negatives is worth its weight in gold.
Arts & Craft Fair
Louise Musgrove, Commercial Manager
Easily my best moment from 2016 was the Arts & Craft Fair in November. To see such an eclectic mix of talented, creative and expressive people all selling their wares in one fantastic space was really inspiring. The atmosphere was perfect and the range of goods on offer was just brilliant. The fair attracts visitors from far & wide, both regular shoppers and those who are coming for the first time. We have already taken advance bookings from next year with some long time vendors requesting the same pitch so they get to chat the their friends again as they sell. It remains our most successful event for a reason. Bring on 2017.
Amy Plewis, Exhibitions and Collections Officer
This year Michael Regan, Associate Curator, and I went to Edinburgh to research for a major 2018 exhibition. Rifling through the archive at the Scottish National Gallery, we came across an amazing selection of material, such as the artist’s family photos, holiday postcards, personal letters and even matchboxes used as makeshift paint palettes. Handling these objects and seeing them up close was a great privilege, but most exciting of all was seeking out material that is really going to enhance what already promises to be an exciting and unique exhibition.
Audio described touch tour of Ingram Collection: Road to Abstraction
Dajana Topczewski, Learning and Engagement Officer
My best moment was when I joined the Learning Department as a full time member of staff in January 2016! After working at The Lightbox for 5 years and completing my MA, Museums and Galleries in Education at UCL, this was an opportunity not to be missed!
Marilyn Scott, Director
The highlight of my year has to be my trip to Lahore in Pakistan to speak about The Muslim Burial Ground, here in Woking, to an international audience. It was an amazing experience – we were taken to all the major heritage sights in Lahore which is one of the most historic Mughal cities in Pakistan. The atmosphere walking around the walled city with smells of spices and fragrances emanating from the spice market, with its teaming mass of people, was so memorable. We visited the Lahore Fort at sunset and the whole ancient fort glowed with pink light as the lights of the city began to be switched on in the distance. The hospitality of fellow heritage professionals from Pakistan was exceptional and we had a real taste of life in this incredible city, from the monsoon rains which stopped us attending a reception at the High Commission because of flooded roads, to an open air dinner in a beautiful tented courtyard. Lahore manages to maintain a very strong sense of its own heritage despite the encroachment of modern living and the sheer mass of people who live there. I will remember the visit for a long time.
John Constable: Observing the Weather
Pru Chambers, Marketing Manager
My highlight of 2016 was the Andrew Graham-Dixon talk in March which explored ‘The Art of Constable’. The packed talk was specially held against the backdrop of the ‘John Constable: Observing the Weather’ exhibition and it was a fascinating personal account of how one of our current leading art critics views how the life and loves of Constable influenced his artistic process. Andrew makes no secret of being a Constable fan and it was a privilege to hear his insights whilst surrounded by original Constable artworks. Plus, the fact it made a lot of money for The Lightbox charity was a real bonus!
Banner image © Eddie Judd Photography, all other images © The Lightbox