This was the brainchild of villager and gallery curator Nick Edell who received enthusiastic backing from Prickwillow Village Council, back in the Autumn 2010, when the council purchased the phone box from BT for just £1 with the only restriction on the sale being that it was not moved. With no funds available for the restoration, a number of villagers stepped in to offer their services for free. Local builder Dave Simpson carried out the bulk of the work using red and black paint leftover from a refurbishment of the village hall. The door lock was fitted by Council Member Richard Raine and the box was cleaned by ex-villager, Jackie Petts.
“We are hoping that this phone box – an iconic English space – will capture community imagination and we’re already very excited about the level of enthusiasm the idea has received.” The gallery has been featured in numerous print and online publications worldwide, with the news even reaching radio audiences in Canada and the US.
Speaking of the global attention the project has received so far, Mr Edell said: “It’s amazing that our little telephone box has made international news. It’s very surreal… but I guess that suits the project!”
The Phone Box has displayed approximately one show each month since that time and works alongside ADeC (Arts Development in East Cambridgeshire) on certain projects. “Our aim is provide an open art space for local artists, craftspeople, galleries and school children as well as contemporary artists and photographers from further afield.”
The exhibit for Christmas 2015 was from the Ouse Life Drawing Group – the whole box being turned into a Christmas Cracker! Ouse Life are a local group of vibrant artists featured at many events in the region. See their past and present work on www.ouselife.co.uk. The work is always popular and eye-catching.
Curators – the job of selecting artists for display of their work has been passed to villager potter, Sonia Lewis. If you are interested in displaying your work, please e-mail: –
Sonia Lewis SONIAPOTLEWIS@PHONECOOP.COOP
Exhibitors for 2017:
Painting – the box has had a facelift – thanks to residents who gave their time.
February: Elizabeth Robertson – Flowers
March: 4th Ely Brownies
April: ‘Dragonflies’ by Ely Primary School pupils of William Chambers
May: Malou and Ezra Lewis
June: Jane Frost – Willow Weaver
July: Open Studios
August: Exhibition by the children from Little Wombatz of Soham
September: Jo Baker
October: Promotion of the Drainage Museum
November: Struan (age 7) and Jacob (age 5) present their pictures on the theme of fireworks
December: Ouse Life works….