Thornton Heath’s annual Arts Week was once more a huge success involving an even wider range of activities designed to introduce people to the huge number of artistic talent in the area. 

For the fourth year the Arts Week was held in July with the weeks activities timed to coincide with the ever popular Picnic in the (Grangewood) Park and Thornton Heath in Bloom. 

In addition there were poetry sessions from Young Peoples Insight, a film night at the Prince George, an arts exhibition and charity auction at LaZaris Art Gallery on Brigstock Road, Lenses of Croydon and Croydon Photographic Forum speakers and a flash mob led by the Urban Steppers outside Tescos.

Karen Barnett, one of the founders of THAW said: “The week was great and once more showed off the talent we have in Thornton Heath. What is really exciting is that the number of activities are growing and that they are impacting on the cultural and artistic life of our  community throughout the year which was always the aim.”

Monday night saw an impressive turnout for an evening looking at the difficult subject of criminal and sexual exploitation of young women in gang culture focusing on the experience and subsequent work of an amazing individual, Sherica Spence, who produced the focal point of the evening, the film Repost. By chance the, evening coincided with a BBC2 Newsnight edition focusing on the same subject. 

Following the film was a frank, wide ranging and highly informative debate on the multiplicity of issues highly relevant to our local community.  Croydon’s chief superintendent Jeff Boothe, took time out to support the event, along with the other panel members and campaigners Tamar Nwafor, Lee Townsend and Sherica. 

The 24 Hour Parky People show saw Trumble Gardens transformed into an open air, fluid art and performance space for the weekend. 

Residents and park users were invited to join workshops and performances delivered by some of London’s finest makers. 

There was a Spanish natural mineral Batique dying workshop, an invisible lemon drawing and invisible letter writing workshop. The bat hunt was a roaring success and Texan songstress Marianne Hyatt treated the audience to a recital of her newest material. 

Local artists PINS and Frank Brown redesigned some of the dated play equipment in the children’s play area while Surel Djemal and Aracelly Idowu both presented sensitive and articulate works around the Suffragette’s 100th anniversary. 

Well Versed Ink celebrated their fourth birthday with a special edition of their monthly show called Painted Poetry. 

Poets took to the open mic and delivered a range of thought-provoking and heartfelt tales from special relationships with fathers to adventures searching for a new relationship with a fella! Meanwhile, the audience sketched their interpretations of those tales over cups of coffee and croissants at Costa. 

Continuing at Thornton Heath Library until October is the fifth annual Age UK art exhibition.

This year sees 62 artworks by 15 artists who regularly attend the Thursday morning art session at Scratchley Hall on Brigstock Road.

As always, the exhibition is hung in the Rotunda area of the library, and served as a wonderful backdrop to other Arts Week events.The paintings and drawings depict a variety of subject matter. The artists are an enthusiastic and friendly group who range from beginners to those who have painted throughout their lives. All the artists are 50 and over and some of them are in the process of rediscovering their love of art having not drawn or painted since leaving school.

Local artist, Julie Beresford, volunteers to lead the Art Club and she says it is as much about building confidence in the members’ abilities as it is about the art itself.

An exhibition of Art work and Dress making was held at CALAT’s Zion Road Strand House centre .

More photos of the exhibition can be seen here