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The Construction Gallery

Tooting has never seemed a likely place for contemporary art to thrive but that wasn’t going to stop Tooting based artists, Pippa Koszerek and Fiona Long from taking on the challenge.

When Wandsworth Council asked for proposals to make use of a disused shop front space on Upper Tooting Road, Pippa and Fiona came up with an exciting plan for a contemporary art gallery space that offers a platform for locally based artists to show their work and form a stronger connection with the community.

With the help of Tooting Town Centre Management, the resulting project opens its doors this week.

In the main space, Royal College of Art MA Sculpture graduate, Alistair McClymont is showing his large-scale installation ‘After the Rain’; introducing infra-red heaters, dripping water and large tarmac road surfaces into the gallery, the man-made debris creates a visual and sensory experience designed to evoke the smell of rain on a hot summer’s day.

In the surrounding smaller spaces there are sound works; writers in residence; a film screening room; a sound installation; and artist in residence Sam Robinson who recently graduated from BA Painting at Wimbledon College of Art making work that will go on display in the next few days.

In addition to the artworks there is also a coffee shop selling tea party cakes and free wifi.

‘We still need more tables and chairs and are totally reliant on donations from the public, so all help is appreciated’, says Co-Director Pippa Koszerek. ‘The idea is to create a space that people feel they can make their home away from home. It is meant as a relaxing and creative environment where people can meet, hang-out and even collaborate’.

One of those collaborations in The Construction Room; an area filled with Lego, Meccano and other construction toys that everyone is encourage to help build.  If you have any Stickle Bricks or similar nestled away in your loft or garage then this is a wonderful opportunity to give them a new lease of life. All the contributions will be given to charity at the end of the project.

‘The success of the project depends on people coming to use it’, continues Pippa. It is completely free of charge and open to all members of the public. We’ve had a great response from people in the area that often work from home and plan to come and use the space as their temporary office.  We’d like to encourage more people to do the same.’

Pippa hopes the project will become the centre of a lively and diverse community where people are all brought together by a shared interest in creativity. It will be the first of it’s kind in Tooting.

The Gallery will be open from Wednesday to Sunday every week until the 25 of March. If you are an artist, writer, film maker, or just would get involved as a volunteer, you can find all the details on their website, www.constructiongallery.co.uk.

The Construction Gallery