Sarah Calmus on working with Hidden Door

As the deadline for our Visual Art Call for Proposals nears, we spoke to artist Sarah Calmus on what working with Hidden Door has meant to her practice.
Photo by Sandra Franco Photo by Sandra Franco

What work did you exhibit this year?

In May 2016, a project that I had dreamed up a year prior, without hope that it would ever manifest, did just that. A light installation made its way into the world and many thousands of pairs of eyes encountered it as folk descended on the Hidden Door Festival at Kings Stables Road in Edinburgh. It was a thrill that my installation could be experienced by so many people and also a great privilege to have my work included among such a spectacular array of ingenious projects that came into being in that previously dormant space in the heart of Old Town.

How did you find working with the Hidden Door team?

Through my involvement as an artist in 2015, I was also welcomed onto the team and had an enriching multi-perspective experience of the festival. I was then approached to exhibit again at the Hidden Door Festival 2016 as an Invited Artist. Being an Invited Artist meant that I had many months of preparation time to create an entirely new piece of work and really let my imagination run wild. With the help of many experienced technologically savvy brains and months of mentoring, I was able to build a site-specific immersive light installation that the public could freely interact and play with.

Mandala Prism by Sarah Calmus - photo by Weronkika Bachleda-Baca Mandala Prism by Sarah Calmus – photo by Weronkika Bachleda-Baca

How has being involved helped your practice as an artist?

Hidden Door has served as a significant platform for my practice and came just at a time when I needed it most when newly graduated in 2014. It provided me with the space, funding and support required to create new and experimental projects and consequently allowed my practice to develop and mature as I gained confidence from the positive feedback my work received whilst exposed to an extensive audience. 

My involvement with Hidden Door has enabled me to invest in new equipment for my practice and afford an Artists Residency, which will help ideas for new projects to flourish.

But by far the most gratifying element of working with Hidden Door, in my opinion – whether as an artist, festival steward, team member or site renovator – is having the chance to be part of a supportive network of folk who are joined together and energised by a common cause; to rejuvenate and inject possibility into previously abandoned, derelict or forgotten spaces, and in doing so provide the inclusive opportunity for the public, local community and creatives to explore and connect with a sense of wonder.

I would encourage anyone who wants to create a new experimental piece of work in any discipline to apply and send a proposal. 

See more of Sarah’s work on Facebook and Instagram.

The deadline for Visual Arts proposals is today – Tuesday 8 November 2016. If you think you need more time, get in touch! We’re also inviting poetry and spoken word proposals until Friday 11 Nov.

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