Art is not something that is high up in a gallery, hidden behind a glass case, but something we live with, share and interact with every day. To us, Art is in actions like planting a thousand sunflowers in a heavily polluted area with the local community, or making a digital mural with disaffected teens from Pepys Estate.
At Artmongers, we believe that art is there to precipitate a change of perception in the world. So, we are passionate about art that makes a difference in an autistic spectrum clinic, or increases recycling, or makes a point in an environmental march. There are lots of people who would like to be involved in the arts, and they don’t all need to be in the role of the artist. These are the people that we work with. What we offer to them is the opportunity to be part of a creative, informed, and yet practical solution to a problem.
We do projects aimed at improving public spaces, increasing user ownership and addressing their needs through ethnographic research and inventive responses. We use many different mediums, according to which idea we run with, such as murals, films, digital prints, action, sculpture etc. We have over ten years of experience and a well established process of engagement especially with challenging groups including adults with dementia, the homeless and adolescents with severe mental health challenges. We review, improve and adapt our approach every time we start a new project.
Artmongers is the brainchild of Argentine artist, Patricio Forrester. It was set up as a not-for-profit limited company in 2003 with Julian Sharples, a fellow-graduate from the MFA programme at Goldsmiths College in 1996. In this early period, Artmongers developed a series of landmark artworks in South East London, such as His ‘n’ Hers, Deptford Marbles, The Brockley Key and the Cowbins.
Our approach developed further when Catherine Shovlin, behaviour researcher, project developer and evaluator, joined the team in 2011. This gives us a unique approach combining research and creativity to develop site-specific, user-specific art that makes a difference. In this second period, we have won a range of commissions including
- public commission to make art for the Newcomen centre for children on the autistic spectrum
- a play area in the National Hospital for Children in Azerbaijan commissioned by YARAT
- Snowsfields clinic for adolescents with mental disorders at Maudsley Hospital, commissioned by Dulwich Picture Gallery
- and a large scale project in Argentina called El Nido (the nest) for prematurely born children from disadvantaged backgrounds
We would love to continue to develop and transfer our expertise to new environments and groups of people who can benefit from the transformative power of art.