Mitcham’s Models – a community art project

​The locals at Mitcham’s Corner in Cambridge have launched a month-long community art project with a unique twist. Throughout the month of July, Mitcham’s Models will be out on display in various locations around Mitcham’s Corner in a unique bid to brighten up the area and publicise the importance of Mitcham’s corner to the local community.

Mitcham’s Models is a local, community run art project, overseen by the Friends of Mitcham’s Corner (FMC), and brought to site in the form of full-size shop mannequins decorated by local artists and groups.  Those involved in the project include: AccessArt students, ArtWorks Studio, the Greenway Family, Rowan, the Stephen Perse Foundation, Trumpington Gallery, and Wintercomfort.

The models appeared on Friday 4th July, a day which saw many people taking to the streets in search of the mannequins; which are located in the old Mitcham’s store, as well as several homes and businesses around the corner.  The models were created using life size, recycled mannequins received through donations and refurbished by Morley Brothers at Milton with help from Cambridge City Council via a North Area Grant.

Mitcham’s was a well-known department store once located on the corner of Chesterton Road and Victoria Avenue which sold a variety of goods including clothes and haberdashery. The store opened in 1909 and closed in 1977. Despite having been closed for so long, the store lives on in the minds of many residents, with the junction itself now colloquially referred to as ‘Mitcham’s Corner’.

FMC committee member Paddy Mannion was the brains behind the idea: “We would like to redefine this area as a destination – it is the northern gateway to Cambridge and home to a very diverse local community which has remained strong despite the neglected development sites and the gyratory system which have been unsightly for so long” he said.

An opening ceremony to mark the beginning of the models stay at Mitcham’s corner took place at the Portland Arms public house on the evening of 4th July.  Attended by those who live, work, and play in the area, with opening remarks by special guest speaker Pippa Sandison, the opening event set the ball rolling for an artistic July 2014 on Mitcham’s corner. Food, drink and music were plenty and entertainment was provided by the ReSound choir.

Those wishing to visit the mannequins can do so with the help of an elegantly designed hand-drawn map by Artist Jon Harris, which shows the location of each of Mitcham’s Models. The maps can be found pinned in various locations participating in the project, including Trumpington Gallery and Furniture Direct.

The event will culminate with an auction, giving everyone the opportunity to buy their favourite Mitcham’s model. All proceeds will be donated to Tom’s Trust, a local charity which provides psychological treatment for children diagnosed with brain tumours.

Visit the Facebook page via this link: Mitcham’s Models

By Jade Fell & Stephanie Freeman

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