The Blyth Centre is a creative hub for Music and Visual Arts. Comprising both gallery space and teaching rooms the centre runs both classes and exhibitions.
Felix spoke to Mindy Lee, the curator and artist in residence at the Blyth centre to discuss the role of the centre at Imperial.
Lee told Felix that she believed that the Blyth Centre was here to inspire and to support via exploring creativity. She told us that “We are an oasis; offer[ing] precious time away from the everyday demands, which is vital for well-being. Especially in this strange time, art and music are medicine for the soul. It can be used as a tool for self-expression and or bring you together with other like-minded people for a collective, stress releasing experience. This is enormously beneficial and nourishing for both students and staff.”
Lee told Felix about the changes that had had to occur to allow the Blyth centre to continue to function whilst still following social distancing requirements. While normally The Blyth Centre would see exhibitions in the Blyth Gallery and Art events in the Blyth Art Studio these areas have had to remain closed. However, the Visual Arts education and exhibition programme has been moved and continued robustly online. In addition, The Blyth Art Fellowships and Arts Awards are still taking place with remote support. Music practice rooms can be booked, allowing students to practice in peace and quiet and lunchtime concerts are still going ahead, which students can attend in person.
Lee told Felix that one of the upsides of responding to the pandemic was that the Blyth Centre now has its own You Tube channel, meaning that if you miss a class, or concert you can access their archive at a time to suit you. Not only can the archive be accessed online. Art classes themselves have also moved online and are going ahead via Teams and Zoom.
According to Lee, the best way to join them is to sign up to the Blyth centre mailing list to receive a weekly update with all the web-links to take part. The mailing list can be signed up to at: https://mailman.ic.ac.uk/mailman/listinfo/ blyth-art-centre
Lee also explained why the Blyth centre was relevant to non-artistic people as well as those that are more experienced. She explained that art is for everyone to explore, enjoy and respond to. Just as you do not have to be a musician to listen to a concert, or an artist to see an exhibition, you can enjoy enjoy watching an artist make.
She went on to say “In terms of creatively doing, I think we can be overly self-critical. You do not have to label yourself as a singer to enjoy singing in the shower or label yourself as an artist to enjoy doodling on a page. I say give it a go, try something different, you might just surprise yourself and find something new for you.”