Stretch is an arts charity that has been quietly operating out of York for 12 years: facilitating creative projects with vulnerable groups and alternative arts practice. Working mainly with the offending community the projects tend to be in bigger cities, Manchester, Leeds and London. Carlotta Allum, Stretch founder and Director, as well as being a former prisoner, an ‘outsider’, with a Masters in Museums and Galleries – has a lifelong love of the arts and collecting. While delivering projects to the marginalised groups she has become increasingly interested in the art made by those outside of the normal art world. Stretch finally received some funding from the Arts Council to host the inaugural ‘Outsider Art Festival’ in Tower Hamlets in October and have been busy commissioning and collecting some really interesting art works, sound pieces, films and objects.
“When we saw that Blank Canvas were looking for people to fill the space we thought it would be a great place to showcase some of our work. I am really pleased to be bringing my work to York as I have had not had a chance to show my local community what we do”
Stretch Outsider Arts Festival 2016 “Where are we now?”
‘Outsider Art’ is woefully under represented in the UK. Carlotta Allum and Stretch Charity aim to curate a collection of outsider art from across the UK including installations, sound pieces, poetry and music from a diverse range of backgrounds. ‘Where are we now?’ aims to address the present state of play for outsider artists in the UK and offer a platform for them make statements about these current, turbulent times, passing social comment on issues such as housing, justice and immigration. ‘Where are we now?’ will be the first of a growing yearly event to champion the arts of those who sit outside the recognised ‘art world’
‘There are more of us on the outside looking in than on the inside looking out’ - Dean Stalham
From 20 to 24 September Stretch will be inhabiting the the Fire Station with a diverse collection of art, films and installations.
'There are more of us on the outside looking in than on the inside looking out’ - Dean Stalham
Carlotta has recently been working in partnership with Dean Stalham, a seasoned art crusader from London. Dean is also a former prisoner and acclaimed playwright and there will be a performance of his play Barred on the Friday evening (23). Barred is on tour, having played in Manchester and London and is finishing in the Fire Station.
Nigel Travis, who plays the main protagonist Danny is actually a firefighter from Manchester and he cannot wait to play in the space. The story is one of redemption through education and will be electric in the space, delivered ‘in the round’ as there is no stage. The play is also the debut for one of the young people Stretch has been working with in Leeds, a young man called Luke Burgess.
Stretch delivers digital story telling projects, the films from which will be shown in the space, Luke’s is below: On Saturday 24 there will be musical acts to be announced and a bar as a closing party to the week.Stretch