New Ideas for an Old Space

Image Credit: Mark Jessett

Ashburton Arts Centre, Ashburton, TQ13 7DT

07525 932734

Friday 18 May 2018 – Sunday 20 May 2018
Opening Hours: 10am - 5pm

Opening event

Colour Theory Cocktails, live music, bar and food
Friday 18th May, 6 pm til late


Saturday 19th May, 6.30 pm - 9 pm

Open discussion with the artists

Saturday 19th May, 2.30 pm

Recording session for 'The most heathen town ever visited'

Saturday 19th, 10 am - 12 pm & 2 pm - 4 pm

A former Methodist Church in Ashburton is being transformed into a contemporary art venue for a weekend of cutting edge artworks and installations, inspired by the building and its history.
The church was recently bought by the community under the umbrella of Ashburton Arts, a local community organization, which has renamed it Ashburton Arts Centre. They have ambitious plans to regenerate it into a multi-purpose arts centre.

N-E-W is an established artists’ collective formed by five Ashburton-based artists with a track record of bringing great art festivals and ideas to the town. They have assembled a group of 11 artists. They include an Arts Professor, Researchers, Senior Lecturers and independent artists who all live in Ashburton. N-E-W is working in partnership with Ashburton Arts to draw attention to the potential of this wonderful space and to the contemporary arts scene in the Town.

There will be ghostly figures in the pews, sound recordings of past memories, fragile presences of past visitors, and paper prayers ‘floating’ overhead. A plinth project using old pews and discarded tin cans masquerading as saints. One of the organ pipes will be made into a giant pencil, two Last Suppers will be recreated for the 21st century, and an abstract mural in one of the stairwells to reflect the unusual architectural properties of the building.

The weekend is open to everyone. It’ll kick off on Friday 18th May from 6pm with music from folk legend Jim Causley, with a special performance of Pride of the Moor: A Song to Dartmoor’s Tinfollowed by more live music from The Blowup. There will be a ‘Colour Theory Cocktail Bar’, bar, food & DJ.

N-E-W are: Robert Manners, Mark Jessett, Karen Pearson, Greg Newman & Alex Murdin


The Artists (all the work is site specific):

Offering by Mark Jessett

An abstract, painted wall work occupying the western stairwell of the Methodist Chapel specifically made to reflect the unusual architectural properties of the space and to acknowledge the changing use of the building.

New Religions by Robert Manners

A site-specific work using images of discarded tin drink cans - referencing Ashburton’s historical past as a stannary town and reflecting on ideas about branding, capitalism and globalism in an old site of worship.

No Corn, No Country by Dave Beech

Photo-text Print.

Continuum by Karen Pearson

A response to how the internal spaces of the new Arts Centre are inhabited over the weekend.

Dinner, Ladies by Janey F. Schmidt

‘Dinner, Ladies’ is a reworking of the last supper to represent women’s contribution to politics and change.

The Most Heathen Town Ever Visited by John Matthias

A project that will spend up to one year recording stories from people who have spent time in and around the Methodist Chapel in Ashburton and develop these into a locational programmed App. re- triggering the stories with newly composed music and sound for visitors to hear via their mobile phone.

The Fifth Plinth by Alex Murdin

Two pews from the Methodist Chapel, the past support for hundreds in their gathering, will become a support structure, a plinth, for a curated program of art and objects made or found by artists and the community.

Symposium by Stephen Felmingham

An open invitation to the community where guests are asked to bring food to share and to take part in a discussion to exchange ideas about what the new Methodist Chapel space could become and what it could represent for the community. During the meal statements and ideas will be screen printed onto paper for hanging in the auditorium space.

Prayer by Jane Caberera

A large kinetic mobile suspended across the main chapel space containing prayers that ‘float’ in the building representing a mass of accumulative prayers that have been ‘released’ within the walls of this chapel over time.

Wondering and Wandering by Milly Brown

A site-specific installation that collapses the past into the present and the future.

The chapel’s interior architecture, spaces and non-spaces will be used to determine forms that will sparingly populate the upper gallery of the building. The forms will be ‘seated’ on 

pews and will be loosely suggestive of congregation members in scale and posture. These figures will be transient and evanescent; uncertain in their boundaries, obscure in their detail, hesitant in their presence.

Organ Transplant by Andrew Stacey

An ‘Oldenburg-esqe’ intervention that transforms one of the chapel’s organ pipes into a giant colouring pencil. This intervention is partly inspired by a current ongoing debate concerning the future of the organ in the building.

Back to events

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Visual Arts South West

Working towards a South West where talented artists thrive, and a resilient and connected visual arts ecology that inspires more engaged and diverse audiences to value and advocate for its work.

Part of the Contemporary Visual Arts Network

Supported by: