Since 2012, Canvas & Cream has striven to create an inclusive, creative and artistic hub for Forest Hill, comprising a cafe & restaurant with garden, therapy room, dedicated contemporary art gallery and eight artist’s studios.
From the outset, this was a community venture. Mother and daughter Joanna and Emily Gore had identified a building on the high street which had been derelict for a number of years. With no electricity, walls or plumbing, it was in need of a little TLC and they saw an opportunity to involve the local people in every stage of its development. They taught people how to tile, how to build walls, decorate, even wire up lights and lay parquet flooring. Learning many skills themselves from books, the internet and from past DIY endeavours, it was a fantastic experience for all, a vast public art project. Local people were also enlisted to help find the items needed for the restaurant and the Forest Hill community responded with fridges, cookers, tiles, wood, plumbing bits, sinks, paint, doors, you name it, it was donated and the whole Canvas and Cream complex was built from this, sometimes a lack of funds is a godsend and pushes you to think a little more creatively about your resources!
Forest Hill has struggled as an area for many years, however the recent migration of artists to South London has created rapid change and desirability and the gallery space, behind the restaurant has played an important role in this growth. C&C Gallery is Joanna and Emily’s catalyst and their passion, the restaurant works to help fund it and the studios keep it alive with creative activity. They see Canvas and Cream as a catalyst for artistic expression and an opportunity to inspire new art collectors, attracting over 1000 visitors per week through the innovative combination of gallery, high street restaurant and artists’ studios.
Welcoming all (even dogs!) the Canvas and Cream philosophy is to be inclusive and encourage creativity and expression, through art, food and living well.
- Provide a South East London arts hub, a social dining experience embedded within a creative environment, connected through and in partnership with a growing number of arts venues along the South East London Overground Line.
- Host artists’ and creatives’ events that endeavour to bring contemporary artistic practice into the heart of the community.
- Provide a healing environment that nourishes the creative soul and builds lasting connections between people.