Malvern Exhibition of Contemporary Art (MECA) was an exciting new open submission exhibition event organised by W-CA (Worcestershire Contemporary Artists). From 1 July to 31 October 2009 empty shops in Great Malvern town centre were turned into spaces for contemporary artworks and provided an opportunity for local and international artists associated with Worcestershire to exhibit their work directly to the public.
As W-CA it was (and still is) our aim to showcase emerging contemporary artists who practiced locally or had a direct connection to Worcestershire. During the planned 4 months, a series of rolling exhibitions was organised together with several specific events open simultaneously to the public and contributing artists. These events included a programme of artist-led walks and talks about the exhibited works designed to generate interest and interaction.
Malvern, in Worcestershire, is well known for its natural spring water and rolling hills. Famous writers and musician have been inspired by the area’s beauty and performing arts already play an important part in Malvern life. It was our intention to use MECA to put Malvern on the map as a destination for contemporary visual arts. By bringing art out of the gallery and into the community MECA makes contemporary art accessible to everyone. Those who visit galleries regularly got the opportunity to engage with art 'closer to home' and appreciate that good contemporary art isn't limited to urban settings. MECA reached people who couldn't get to galleries for health or transport reasons. And it provided an interesting introduction to contemporary art for people who were unfamiliar with it or had no interest in visiting galleries. We wanted MECA to encourage debate and stimulate conversation about contemporary art and its audience in a rural setting. With the economic downturn having a noticeable impact on the numbers recently closed shops, MECA also helped to revitalise the town centre through using empty shop fronts and attracting more visitors to Malvern.
Set up in 2008, W-CA aims to: create opportunities and dialogue around contemporary art in Worcestershire, establish a support network for artists, increase exhibition opportunities in Worcestershire and provide a platform for international artists to show and talk about their own art.
For more information please visit our webite: www.w-ca.net.