“…through the arts we can change people’s attitudes.”
START, or Somers Town and St Pancras Art, has brought an annual street arts festival to this area of London for over 19 years. START, a voluntary group, now incorporates cultural and arts events throughout the year.
Fittingly, Somers Town has a pioneering history of arts and community being seen as important as housing: ‘housing is not enough’ meant providing community centres and sculpture as well as new homes after the 1920s slum clearance.
Today’s hugely popular START grew out of a first festival of cultures in 1997, begun to try to bring harmony to the disparate cultures in Somers Town, after racial tensions and a murder of young Richard Everitt.
Former festivals featured acts as diverse as Alexis Sayle, Les Dennis from Family Fortunes, performances by the gurkas, Tibetan monks, and the British TaeKwando team, as well as local bands such as the Mighty Caretakers, and Oh!Gunquit, activities like first aid displays, filmmaking, history exhibitions, art workshops, and the ever popular Funfair.
The quote is from Alan Patterson, former chair of START, in the Camden New Journal in 2010. Thanks to his and Steve Denholm’s sterling efforts, the festival goes on!