Cultivate: Moving our exhibitions online

Cultivate is an artist-led project led by two painters, Sean Worrall and Emma Harvey. It was first set up in 2011 as an art space in Vyner Street, London. Since 2015 it has existed in a nomadic manner, as a loose collective of artists, exhibiting in all kinds of spaces and places, from formal galleries to railway arches, Edwardian dress shops, condemned warehouses and more.

"How have we been spending our Cultivate lockdown? Well like everyone else involved in curating art shows, we got hit by the virus and had to close exhibitions that had only just opened, cancel shows that were coming up and throw all the plans out of the window. You've heard the stories from many a gallery and artist-led space, right now we don't know what the future holds for us. We'll be back in terms of physical shows at some point, we just don't know how, where or when yet.

However, rather than sit around feeling sorry for ourselves, we got on with doing things online. We had been curating online shows anyway, something we've always seen as being part of our regular physical shows (there have now been 156 Cultivate shows, nine of them online). During lockdown we have opened three online shows and exhibited over 650 pieces of art from around 100 artists, including a whole mix of London-based Cultivate regulars joined by artists from all over the world, who were either personally invited or found via an open call process.

The three on-line shows during the time of lockdown, #43Artists (April), (Far from the) Turmoil (May) and the most recent show, (And with good) Reason (June) were all carefully curated by Sean and Emma, and are hosted on Cultivate's sister website, Organ. There are no plans to close the exhibitions as we can leave them up on the website. Each of the recent shows were viewed over 40,000 times during the first week of being live. The opening nights for all three shows were particularly busy, and we expect all three, like our previous online shows, will continue to be visited over the coming months.

The three shows feature some 38 new (to us) artists who came our way via the open call process, a large percentage of those new artists were found via CuratorSpace. We have a strong policy in terms of open calls and the way they are done here at Cultivate, we like to treat artists the way we would like to be treated ourselves. Our latest open call is live on CuratorSpace and you can apply here."

You can find out more about the work of Cultivate and its founders here, herehere, and here.

CuratorSpace are currently featuring articles by artists, curators and organisations who want to share their experiences of responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, whether that is artists using their practice as a way of exploring new boundaries of isolation, or as a way to connect more broadly with their communities. We are also interested in hearing from curators and organisations who are offering support to artists and audiences during this time.

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