By Rhonda Dredge
The table was laid in white cloth. Celebrations were about to occur in the cloisters of St Paul’s.
A young artist arrived and stood in the shadows, apart from the girls in their chattering cliques.
He wasn’t a saint yet there was something modest about him.
Across his right shoulder was a loose bag. He was holding a book and it looked like he was about to give a reading.
The gospel according to the artist – stay cool and keep out of the limelight.
Inside the book were 47 entries and his name was but one in a mass movement that has seen art leave conventional galleries and move into the streets.
Publicity people were about, ready to put artists on pedestals but they weren’t performing for the crowd.
Chapter House Lane, an old-town setting in the CBD beside St Paul’s, has been the site for an art experiment for the past seven years in which the work of 136 artists has been shown in three window display cases at no cost to them.
A crowd of well-wishers was present to say goodbye to the art space and its curator Louise Klerks.
Chris Charman, a regular, said that she liked the space because you could come to openings and walk out along the lane. “You have to look cool in a gallery,” she said.
Ceramicist and painter Stephen Benwell has shown three times. “Louise picked me up. She made a fuss of me.”
There is a sense of belonging at Chapter House Lane. The book Seven Year Itch documents those who have been part of the project.
Each of those who contributed received a small red book as a memory, a badge that he or she once had work here in a gracious CBD location for the passer-by to enjoy.
“I showed in 2013,” said Grant Nimmo. “It was great. When I showed, White Night was on and there were a lot of people in the city. People emailed me personally. It was kind of good exposure to the broader public.”
The regular openings have also allowed people to put faces to names in the art world.