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Over The Rainbow: Reclaim charity exhibition

28th-30thSeptember. B&B Gallery.

Tucked away in a back street of Sheffield’s cultural industries quarter, a keen eye will discover the delights of a small but charming gallery space run by artists Florence Blanchard and Ed Bradbury, namely B&B Gallery. Having only been open for a few short months, the gallery is already a great success, hosting artists from all over, creating interesting exhibitions and installations in a restricted space. September saw the gallery help curate a slightly different event. Together with Liz Carrington from charity Reclaim, B&B Gallery played host to a silent auction exhibition, Over The Rainbow, to raise awareness and funds for the charity after a devastating fire destroyed its main centre back in July. A private recycling charity, Reclaim provides work within the industry for adults with learning difficulties. Striving to give their users a sense of belonging and purpose, they also had an on-site activity centre as a place to take part in social activities, to make friends and to create a sense of community. After the fire, Reclaim was left to start from the very beginning, with little resources or facilities available to allow them to operate properly. Work for the exhibition was donated from seven international artists, including Blanchard herself and well known illustrators like Kid Acne. Also included was work by Reclaim’s own service users, giving the exhibition depth and originality. From group pieces experimenting with different ways of transferring splashes of colour and energy to canvas to individual works, again full of interesting colour and precise, angular compositions, considering many of the Reclaim service users were art first-timers, the selection was impressive. From the professional selection, a personal favourite has to be the work of Sheffield-based Jonathan Wilkinson. Under the banner ‘We Live Here’, Wilkinson has worked to highlight the unappreciated buildings that surround us, using his graphic design style to transform them from eyesores into eye catching artwork. A mention must also go to Blanchard’s work. A specialist in paint-based graffiti productions and murals, Blanchard’s pieces are an explosion of colour and shape, combining the abstract with elements of pop culture. Overall, the exhibition was a great way to bring attention to both the newly founded B&B Gallery and to the needs of Reclaim, a charity whose work helps so many adults with learning difficulties in the local community, giving them a place to work, to expand their creativity and make friends. Even though a great success, with many of the paintings snapped up, the exhibition is only the beginning of a long road for the charity, who are reaching out for donations, however small, to get their very worthy cause back on its feet. For further information on Reclaim or to make a donation, contact sheffieldreclaim@hotmail.co.uk )

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