The Launch Night Of Presence Art Space

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At the end of September Susie, who runs the Den of Voice poetry events, invited me to the launch party of Presence Art Space in Guildford.

I took my friend Frog along with me.

Presence Art Space was using the vacated space of what used to be a camping equipment shop located in Phoenix Court, a small shopping area. The camping shop along with other retail outlets in Phoenix Court had all closed down due to the recession.

The gallery was making good creative use of what had become an empty and dead part of Guildford.

When we entered the gallery, Susie greeted us, and gave us some wine and nibbles.

Frog knew Susie before I had met her, as he used to go to peace marches, alternative events, and conspiracy talks with her. They chatted to each other and caught up on what they had been doing since they last met.

There were lots of creative poets, artists and musicians at the event, some of which were displaying their work, it was a fun crowd to talk to and mix with.

The fun arty types at the event

We then had a walk round the gallery to look at the exhibitions. It was split across two floors.

One of the first things we saw were a load of open envelopes stuck all over the wall. Some of the envelopes had shapes of beetles carefully cut out of them. The beetles were pinned onto a board with pins, next to the open envelopes. This was one of my favourite art displays, as it reminds me of my many tasks with the office job I do, which involves slitting open hundreds of envelopes each week. I would like to cut beetles shapes out of the envelopes I slit open, and pin them to my office walls, but I don’t think they’d like me to do that.  I took a photo of Frog standing next to this interesting art display.

Frog standing next to the paper beetles pinned on to the wall and the open envelopes

With another display we saw was a collection of wood shaped as arches stacked and stood up together. I was a bit worried of accidentally knocking them over like a stack of dominoes after too much wine, so I therefore didn’t stand too close to them.

Frog walking past the stack of wood

Looking through the stack of wood

On another wall, I saw a collection of doodles drawn in black ink. I liked them they looked very intricate.


Hanging from the ceiling was a collection of hot air balloons, which had sweets and other things contained in within the balloon baskets.

There was some photography on display showing photos of a graveyard and flowers.

Flowers and graves

We also saw a painting of a half tiger and human face, which had a butterfly sitting on its nose. Susie was taking to one of the Den of Voice poets beside this painting.

Man or beast, or both?

Susie talking to one of the poets

One of the artists had done a self-portrait of herself, which was a collage to make her look like a fairy, with an owl on a tree branch above her. We spoke to the artist, as she saw us looking at the picture, we didn’t realise it was her at first. She was also acting as a photographer at the event.

A Fairy

A band then started playing their music and songs. They sounded great, and were fun to watch.

The excellent band

The band with some of the balloons with their baskets hanging from the ceiling

The girl on the violin was very good

After the band had finished, me and Frog left the event to meet some people in the White House pub for some drinks and socialising.

It was a fun night out.

Presence Art Space was sadly not open for long, as they were only allowed to rent the empty for a short time.

It has now become an empty shop again, which is a shame, they should create a permanent art space in Guildford for local artists, poets, bands to showcase their talent and to host fun and interesting events.

Comments on The Launch Night Of Presence Art Space

Posted by Jill (Creative Cafe) | 10 December, 2009 8:42 AM | Jill (Creative Cafe)'s home page | | Permalink

Hi Barry

Your friend may want to know about the Empty Shops Network or may know already. You can find out about it at
They are turning a lot of empty shops into art and other type places.

Shows how interesting they can be from this one you went to.

Bye for Now

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