Award-winning Merton community arts group gets City Hall grant to extend culture to the community

A Merton community arts group won a grant of £1,000 for their Stitch, Print, Process! project after applying for the Mayor of London’s Culture Seeds Fund.

Made in Merton’s winning project involved children and families making banners which they carried while marching alongside the river Wandle chanting ‘art made people, people made art’.

Made in Merton received its Picture Perfect award at City Hall on May 16 for a photograph of the home-made banners and was also nominated for a Making History award, for which it was a runner up.

Lead member of the group, Portia Dadley, said: “Winning this award gave us validation of what we’re doing and it was such a lovely evening at City Hall because everyone who won a Culture Seeds grant was invited.”

The Culture Seeds Fund is designed to support community-led culture projects across all London boroughs.

“It’s about extending culture to the whole community and often that means disadvantaged groups or groups who find culture hard to access,” said Ms Dadley.

Ms Dadley said the group gained inspiration from textile designer William Morris who used the same method of block printing in his fabrics and who too believed that art was made by the people, for the people.

“With the Stich, Print, Process! banners the letters were cut from Liberty and Morris fabric so it’s like this is part of our story and we did them on a calico backing which is a textile very much associated with the Wandle,” she said.

“We’ve had a lot of positive feedback from the community,” added Ms. Dadley.

“I’m very touched and heartened.”

Made in Merton arts group meet for a monthly craft night at community pub, The Sultan, in South Wimbledon.

Their aim is to highlight Merton’s textile and industrial heritage through different art events.

The group are also working on another banner project with BAMEVoice and Merton council to celebrate Windrush Day on June 22.

For regular updates follow @made_in_merton on Instagram and Twitter, or email [email protected] for more information.

Feature image credit: Madeline Meckiffe.

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