Works of art

Jeannie Marshall was incredibly excited. The Kingsfield artists’ collective were preparing for their first exhibition. In just a few months’ time, they would be hosting an event at the warehouse they’d turned into their studios and gallery. All they’d been labouring over for these last couple of years would be worth it as people finally got to see what they were all about.

The collective had been the idea of her friend Anita Lobos. They’d studied art at university at the same time, and Anita had been well connected with others in the community – arts promoters like Jenny Deeds and CeCe Spicer, performance artists like Lemonie Snicket and a whole host of others. CeCe Spicer had managed to persuade the warehouse owners to allow the artists to rent the space on a five-year lease for a very low rent and so they’d been using the space ever since to paint and sculpt and perform and write.

Anita had alerted Jeannie to the fact that there were lettings available in the small block of flats next to the warehouse, and they’d taken one each. Other creatives had moved into other flats in the block as they’d become vacant and they began to work as a community.

The newest residents were Fia Magnus and her partner George Saint. Fia had recently graduated and was determined to make it as a fashion designer.

Fia was incredibly nervous about the upcoming exhibition. Her parents had expressed strong disapproval about her chosen career path. There was no money in it, they said. What if they were right?

She barely even saw George these days, she was so busy getting her designs just right. And he’d taken on a new job at the fire station and was working irregular shifts.

It wasn’t exactly what he dreamed of, but it was steady, well-paid work and Fia needed him to support her whilst she was getting herself established. It also gave them a good link into the community – perfect when he needed people to invite to fundraising parties.

CeCe was a real hub of the community and she loved hosting the parties at her place. George was getting used to these shindigs. They weren’t his natural home – he’d much rather be playing XBox with Liam and Richie – but they were a good opportunity to get to know people in the town and to show off Fia’s designs.

Lemonie wore one of Fia’s latest designs…

…as did Anita for her session with fellow musician Sally.

A couple of dozen residents attended that evening, from students to business leaders. Money was raised, partnerships secured…

…and over the canapes, new connections were formed…

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