This morning, (15 May) the Museum of London hosted the Press Launch to announce the myriad of projects happening this summer as a part of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad. The umbrella programme called “Stories of the World” is a collection of museum exhibitions and public events across the UK created by young people, ages 16-21, and is principally funded by the Arts Council England in partnership with the London Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG).
Bleary-eyed and sipping coffee, artists, press and guests scurried into the museum’s foyer out of the rain to hear the welcome speech given by Arts Council’s Executive Director, Moira Sinclair, emphasizing this year’s Cultural Olympiad and its culmination the London 2012 Festival as the result of truly collaborative partnerships between the funding institutions and the participating museums, artists and cultural organisations.
Themes of the events the year focus on community efforts, influence of global cultures in UK, and major contributions from Britain’s young people. The arts in all their forms will be represented – poetry, theatre, interactive installations, fashion, cinema, performance and visual arts and the cross-pollination amongst them each holds a significant place in the “Stories of the World” programme.
ArtLyst is excited to highlight some of the notable visual arts programming happening over the coming months.
This summer, CREATE brings 12 new commissions to east London, championing local emerging artists and engaging the young residents behind the scenes. Their main feature is Frieze Projects East, a collection of interactive public art projects in the five Olympic host boroughs. Other commissions will include a work by You Me Bum Bum Train, and a life-size bouncy castle Stonehenge contributed by 2012 Turner Prize nominee Jeremy Deller. Also prominent in our everyday space is a public arts project called Bus-tops, where 30 black and red LED lights cover the roofs of bus shelters across London. Nine of them already flash commissioned artist works, while the rest await submissions from the wider community. Look out for notice of a ping-pong tournament to happen at a later date.
Large institutions, like The Geffrye Museum, will focus on the cultural exchange the Olympics bring to its host city. The Geffrye asks “how ‘English’ are our homes?” with an exhibition about the surprising influences of other cultures on social customs we consider traditionally British.
The Museum of London itself is exhibiting Londinium 2012, which features a range of multimedia installations and Roman artefacts in a gallery curated by young people as part of their youth panel ‘Junction’.
Outdoor arts and artists will take us back to nature while celebrating UK national heritage sites. Fine ceramic artist Paul Cummins invades the grounds of six historic houses in London, each with a unique English Flower Garden directly related to the site but also reflecting today’s society of multi-cultural diversity.
Two significant spaces address fashion and identity, design and the visual arts. The Horniman Museum focuses on dressing the body in an exhibition called “The Body Adorned: Dressing London” that showcases photographs of London clothing styles taken by students 16-18 years old.
But the Victoria and Albert Museum offers ArtLyst’s most anticipated exhibition of the summer with Britain Creates 2012: Fashion & Art Collusion. This cross-disciplinary event, a collaborative effort by the British Fashion Council and Bazaar Fashion Arts Foundation in partnership with the Mayor of London, celebrates the relationship between visual arts and fashion designers, exploring art as fashion and fashion as sculpture through design, photography and film.
Luckily, with so many events happening around town, a free digital arts service, the Space, has been created by Arts Council England and partnered with the BBC to keep you up to speed with all the visual arts, theatre, video, cultural events and more via internet, smart phone, tablets and television until October 2012.
Words: Sharon Strom / Photo: P C Robinson © ArtLyst 2012