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Cardiff artists hope to raise £20,000 to set up canal boat studio

Two Cardiff artists are appealing for help so they can use art to transport people to another place – down the Brecon and Monmouthshire canal.

Chapter Arts Centre box office workers Amber Mottram and Ellie Young, both 30, want to make a creative portable space for artists to take up residencies in, which they can then take to different communities.

Ellie Young and Amber Mottram

Ellie Young and Amber Mottram

“We want to run a project called the Boat Studio,” Ms Mottram said. “We want to buy a 57-foot-long boat, gut it and turn it in to a studio space.

“I really want to explore the concept of artists making work relating to a journey they’ve done on the boat. Being on a canal boat, I’ve found, is just really conducive to being creative.”

In order to do so, they have set themselves the target of raising £20,000 by the end of the year, which they are aiming to do through a combination of crowd funding and fundraising events.

Ms Mottram said: “We started crowd funding last year to buy the boat. We were pledged about £5,500 but we only got £4,000 come through as people were pledging money to have a holiday on the boat and ticked the box that if we didn’t raise the full amount then they didn’t have to give the money as there would be no boat to have the holiday on!

“We’re holding a series of three events. One in Cardiff, one in Abergavenny and one in Brecon as they’re on the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal where we’re looking to be based.”

If they can manage it, the project will be the culmination of a 15-year dream for Amber, who came up with the idea when she was at school. “When I was a teenager I was thinking about what I want to do when I grow up and what I genuinely wanted to do was to buy a canal boat and turn it into a gallery.

“For some reason it was a dream I had and I didn’t do it but went on to study fine art, buy a house, have a baby and all that stuff and then when I got to 30 I thought ‘do you know what that’s the only good idea I’ve had my entire life’ so I’m just going to go for it now!?”Boat2

They are holding a fundraising gig on Tuesday March 17 at Chapter Arts Centre, where there will be a live art auction, poetry readings and live music from several performers. “We’ve got seven acts coming and they’re all really, really good. It should be a really good night.”

If you want to donate money for the Boat Studio you can do so at www.ambermottram.com/the-boat-studio.

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