THIS MONTH, TURF WILL OFFICIALLY MOVE FROM KEELEY ROAD TO A NEW HOME WITHIN CROYDON’S WHITGIFT CENTRE.
As a charity, we’ve been operating on a Meanwhile Use lease and last spring we got the news that after 3 years we were likely to lose use of our space at our Keeley Road.
It had always been on the cards but it was still a daunting prospect; not only because of the task ahead finding a new space for our free exhibitions and workshops, but because Keeley was the space we first called home – set up with help from our friends, family and collaborators, and refurbished from a disused gym equipment store (Workout World!) via crowdfunding plus support from Mayor of London’s High Street Fund. We’ve shared the little row with 101 Records (resolute resource for vinyl fans), the all-round lovely gentlemen at bastion of Croydon fashion Budwals, the now sadly closed Le Petit Pain (bakery of dreams) and we’ve also done a lot of dodging of gaggles of under 5s in hi-vis vests from the daycares we nestle between.
Our space on Keeley may be tucked away, but we still think it’s one of Croydon’s coolest hidden nooks. B still boasts that every single person from Croydon that she’s directed to Turf with “Go down the alleyway off North End that plays reggae music and turn left” has known exactly where we are.
… all was not lost! With support from Croydon Council, Turf’s exhibitions and events will now continue within Croydon Arts Store. Over the past few months we’ve been busy transforming a long-unused four-floor unit in Croydon’s Whitgift Centre into an artist and community led arts space which will be run collaboratively by local arts organisations.
In addition to Turf’s ongoing exhibitions and events on the ground floor, plus a much-needed expansion of Turf’s artist studio spaces, the Croydon Arts Store will be hosting a youth arts programme, workshops by Art Halo, artist residencies, a research space facilitated by Kingston School of Art, Croydon Council, and LOFT; a creative community project space which will be FREE to use by Croydon locals for projects, events and exhibitions.
How will a gallery like Turf work nestled amongst the commercial spaces of a shopping centre? That remains to be seen (one of the research aims of the space), and our existence in the Whitgift is still only a stopgap considering impending redevelopment of the centre. However, in the meantime, our new larger gallery space gives us an opportunity for the artists we work with to scale up their ideas, and more workspace means that we can accommodate more attendees at our expanding programme of free workshops and events, particularly at Family Art Fun Days and youth workshops which are massively oversubscribed. Vitally, more spaces and support for artists to make work mean that graduates from local institutions like Croydon School of Art won’t have to move to other boroughs and out of the Croydon community in order to continue developing their careers and realistically maintain an art practice within London.
As it turns out, our space at Keeley Road will still live on for a bit longer alongside the new space, as temporary workspace and project space for the growing creative community we support – but we’re excited to see where this new space takes us!
We also wish to express our deep gratitude to the small army of amazing people who helped us get the new space ready – we couldn’t have done it without your help painting, fetching, carrying and at times providing much needed support and laughs.
Our new space will be opening on the 29th September with a solo exhibition by Saelia Aparicio, Peaks & Troughs!
You can now find us at Turf Projects, Lower Level Trinity Court, 46-47, Whitgift Centre, London CR0 1UQ. The unit is within the Whitgift Centre just at the entrance to the Wellesley Road underpass, a couple of doors down from Natwest and Waterstones.
We’ll also have new opening hours, now opening from Wed-Sun 11-5pm.
If you have accessibility requirements, we’re happy to accommodate you in any way we can. We can provide detailed routes from your starting point, or meet and guide you from West or East Croydon stations if needed – just drop us a line in advance at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We look forward to welcoming you!