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Artist to host mass collaborative artwork

A sight-impaired artist from Cheltenham is to host an art project to create mass collaborative artwork alongside her first solo exhibition.

Sarah Goddard will hold her first solo exhibition, Room for Art, at Gardens Gallery in Montpellier Gardens, Cheltenham, from February 2-8.

This exhibition will feature a collection of artworks entitled 'Breathe', inspired by Sarah's experience of living with Long Covid over the past 21 months. Alongside this exhibition, Sarah will be hosting the creation of a mass collaborative artwork by 100 gallery visitors.

Admission and participation in the art project is free.

Participants in the collaborative project Make Room for Art will each create a small abstract acrylic artwork on a piece of MDF during the exhibition. All of these artworks will fit together to form one larger artwork. The complete work will be an abstract representation of the view across Cheltenham from Leckhampton Hill, including Devil's Chimney. After the exhibition, participants will receive their own small artwork, as well as an image of the complete piece.

Anyone who wishes to take part can register in advance for an hour slot at: https://www.sarahgoddardartist.co.uk/makeroomforart 

Being sight-impaired herself, and so having faced barriers to access, Sarah intends to make her first solo exhibition as accessible as possible. The gallery has level access, and there will be audio descriptions available for all of the artworks on display.

Sarah will also create an online version of the exhibition so that people who are not able to visit the gallery will still be able to access the exhibition

Sarah said: "It isn't just disabilities that can create barriers to accessing spaces. There are many reasons why people may feel unsafe, uncomfortable or unwelcome in some spaces."

This is the motivation for Sarah to host the creation of this collaborative community artwork. She wants to do what she can to welcome people into this space, to allow them to take some time for themselves, to indulge in creativity.

The exhibition will feature a new collection of artworks entitled 'Breathe' that Sarah has created in response to her experience of living with Long Covid since March 2020.

This collection is inspired by the simple word Breathe, and what it has meant to Sarah during the past 21 months. During acute Covid infection, Sarah found it difficult to breathe, and is now relearning how to breathe correctly. At the same time, during her ongoing recovery from Long Covid, she has used mindfulness and breath as a way to calm body and mind.

The abstract acrylic landscape paintings that form this collection are based upon photographs that Sarah has taken during walks in Gloucestershire and Derbyshire in 2020 and 2021. Across each of the paintings is a black horizontal line, along which are groups of long and short vertical lines. The short lines represent dots and the long lines represent dashes. In Morse code they spell out "breathe". The line of Morse code also features as a line where part of the image is reflected above or below the line. This alludes to the idea of looking at the world around us from a different point of view, to try out new perspectives.

Sarah added: "Lockdown brought with it a real appreciation of the benefit of spending time in green space. Getting out into nature provides me with a real boost to my mental health. "Breathe" is not just a prompt to spend time breathing in fresh air, but also to stop and appreciate the sights, sounds and smells of the natural world."

The exhibition is open at the Gardens Gallery from February 2 - 7 from 10am-5pm; and on February 8 from 10am-1pm.

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