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The medieval church of St Clement's near the Waterfront in Ipswich, Suffolk, is slowly being transformed into a new arts and culture hub: the Ipswich Arts Centre will become a dynamic venue for music, theatre, dance, exhibitions, events and more. St Clement's Church remained empty and disused for thirty years prior to the start of its transformation, driven by a group of dedicated volunteers.
As part of this process, an exciting history project (made possible through the Heritage Lottery Fund) has begun to capture the memories and little known stories associated with the church and its surroundings. Inspired by three women who shared their recollections of the church during the 2017 Heritage Open Day, the Ipswich Arts Centre Memories Project has captured a wealth of personal memories and narratives from members of the public since May 2018. The outcomes of the Memories Project will be displayed in an exhibition at the Waterfront Building at the University of Suffolk on Wednesday 27th and Thursday 28th February 2019.
Local Ipswich artist and speed-painter Lois Cordelia was asked to create a big, bold, brightly-coloured contemporary painting of St Clement's Church, to feature as part of the Memories Project exhibition. Hanging alongside a display of memories of the past, this new painting of the church would evoke the glowing future of the Ipswich Arts Centre.
Lois made the most of the early Spring sunshine on the afternoon of Thursday 21st February to paint a picture of the church, setting up her easel in situ, and talking with many local residents and passers-by while she painted. Lois chose a blank black canvas as her starting point, to symbolise the church's reemergence out of obscurity. Appropriately, vibrant colours on a black background are reminiscent of a stained glass window. Metallic and iridescent paints also catch the light in unexpected ways as the viewer walks past.
Lois's finished painting of St Clement's Church will be 'unveiled' by the Mayor of Ipswich when she officially opens the Memories Project exhibition next week.
The free entry exhibition will be open to the public on Wednesday 27th and Thursday 28th February, 9.00 am - 8.00 pm. Official Opening by the Mayor of Ipswich: Wednesday 27th at 1.00 pm. Celebration Evening with Guest Speakers and live speedpainting demonstration: Thursday 28th 6.00 pm - 8.00 pm. All warmly welcome. Refreshments available.
Above: Lois Cordelia paints a colourful contemporary vision of the medieval St Clement's Church in Ipswich, February 2019.
For more information about the new Ipswich Arts Centre: please visit ipswichartscentre.org