Conversation Piece: Our Next Special Event

As the summer arrives, we are busy working towards the next special event at House of Prints. In the last couple of weeks, I have been talking to artists, listening to our supporters and rethinking. It didn’t take me long to decide on the theme for our next event – making art, conversations and mental health stood out to me in those conversations. I think we all realise that having conversations within ourselves and with others is essential for us, and that often is at the centre of creating new work for artists – like what Wuon Gean Ho said in her interview for our Artists in Quarantine series: ‘carving is like a conversation’.

Conversation Piece, came to me as an event title because of its meaning in art history – 18th-Century paintings most popular among the new middle class, portraying family and group of friends in less formal settings, often conversing with each other. This was a new trend in contrast with commissioned portraits before this time – often featuring one person in very formal and static settings. I thought it’s rather fitting as we weren’t able to see friends and family in the last few weeks.


Conversation Piece: Our Next Special Event - Discover Contemporary Art Prints & PrintmakingConversation Piece (Portrait of Sir Andrew Fountaine with other Men and Women) Circa 1730 – 1735, by William Hogarth

Of course, the phrase’s modern meaning is very relevant too – being asked about prints around my house by guests and sharing my passion through these conversations, is one of the many inspirations behind House of Prints.

Conversation Piece will run from 20th of June to the 4th of July (timing TBC) and we will highlight some of the work created by artists during the lockdown.

I’m pleased to say that we are partnering up with a very new mental health charity Shout – a health crisis text line (part of Mental Health Innovations) for Conversation Piece. And here’s some information from the Charity:

Shout is the UK’s first 24/7 mental health crisis text line. Anyone in need of mental health support can text “SHOUT” to 85258 and have a conversation with a trained volunteer at any time, for free, anonymously. They can raise any concern including depression, loneliness, anxiety, and relationship issues. One of our wonderful 1,900 Crisis Volunteers will listen to their concerns without judgement and support them in identifying their own strengths to get through their crisis. Shout has been running publicly since May 2019 and to date has processed over 300,000 conversations.

Your support comes at a critical time for Shout. As well as delivering our usual service to over 900 people in crisis every day, we are now working to provide support specifically to those impacted by the coronavirus emergency. All funds raised will be channelled towards that effort, including training more volunteers and expanding our clinical team to manage more conversations than ever.

A minimum of 20% of all sales at the event will go to the charity – you can donate directly too.

Thank you and please take care.

With warm wishes,