Community Choice

Who gets to decide what goes on display in a gallery?  What works of art would you like to see in this gallery space?  This exhibition was selected by five incredible community groups from around the city of Lincoln, who each work with Lincoln Museum and Usher Gallery in different ways. As a showcase of the quality and breadth of the work in our collection and a celebration of the many amazing community connections that we have, we invited these groups to co-curate our collections. The groups include Development Plus Men’s Group, Bridge Community Hub Foodbank, our very own young people’s group, the Creative Collective, the Friends of Lincoln Museums and Art Gallery, and the Usher Gallery Trust.  Each group was given a broad theme to work with: Colour, Lincoln, People, History, and Nature. These themes were taken from our collections and acted as a starting point for discussion. The groups then shared their selections and feedback, and the resulting exhibition, Community Choice, showed what incredible things can happen when you open up the doors of the gallery to new and enthusiastic voices. Through this exhibition, we wanted to gather more ideas on how we could involve our communities. Following a recent uplift in funding from Arts Council England, over the next three years we will continue to explore new ways to engage communities in our exhibitions and events. We wanted to invite the public to get involved and share their opinions, as well as get creative with the blank postcards we left in the exhibition for people to draw or write messages on, which we kept in the art book to display them all, which will be available to view on the Clore learning space. The exhibition was on display in the Usher Gallery between Saturday 10 June 2023 and Sunday 8 October 2023.  We also held a couple of Community Choice workshops led by local artists in order to get the community more involved with the exhibition. The first was a Community Portrait Mask Making workshop on Saturday 30 September, where Helen Hancocks joined us to host this event where you were able to create your very own paper mask portrait, drawing inspiration from the artists, artworks and community groups featured in the Community Choice exhibition, with the end goal of creating a unique community portrait. The second event was the Elbow Room Collective workshop on Saturday 7 October, run by a delightful trio of local artists who aimed to explore the Community Choice exhibition and create a unique and fun installation with the community. Photos by Reece Straw

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