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Press Release: Sir Ian Mckellen To Open New Not-For-Profit Art Gallery #London

Blackheath, London, July 27, 2015 –  The Coombe Trust are delighted to announce that Sir Ian Mckellen will officially open Artful Pelican, the organisation’s charitable art project, on July 31, 2015.

The gallery, which is in the suburbs of Blackheath, aims to raise £40,000 a year through the sale of unique art pieces, most of which have been created by the city’s extremely talented and up-and-coming homeless and vulnerable artists. Funds raised will go towards supporting London’s homeless community through Coombe Trust’s Street Souls initiative.

The catalyst for the gallery is David Hardy, a former homeless artist, who has managed to turn his life around thanks to the help of Street Souls. Mr Hardy met David Coombe, the charity’s Chief Executive, four years ago, whilst in the process of being made homeless. At the time, Mr Hardy was in a dark place and asked Mr Coombe to dispose of his art. Fortunately, Mr Coombe realised this and knew that Mr Hardy would probably live to regret his decision, so he stored the art, and through contacts at Lloyd’s of London, entered the pieces into various art competitions. As a result, Mr Hardy won best newcomer at the annual Lloyd’s art exhibition and subsequently the people’s choice award two years later.

Mr Coombe hopes that Artful Pelican can help more people like Mr Hardy, who are made homeless through no fault of their own. “It’s a very much misconceived and accepted norm that homeless people are alcoholics or drug addicts, which isn’t the case. Most of the alcoholics and drug addicts get taken in and put on special programmes, whereas the regular adult whose marriage has broken down, those who have lost their job, maybe missed a few mortgage payments, or had a breakdown due to losing a loved one, have nowhere to go and the council can’t help,” said Mr Coombe. “Things are very much on the up for David, and I hope that this will prove to be the case for some others too,” he added. Artful Pelican is divided into three different sections – the main gallery, the lower gallery and the affordable art area. Prices range from as little as £1 for a postcard, to £5,000 for the gallery’s centrepiece – which will be unveiled on the night. Therefore, it is hoped that everyone who walks through the door will be able to leave with a piece of original artwork and do their bit in helping the homeless.

All exhibiting artists will donate a minimum of 25 per cent of any sale, with most donating the full value of each of the pieces sold.

“We will feature unknown artists and established artists all of whom offer something a little bit special,” said Mr Coombe.

The aim is to eventually have homeless artists producing all of the art that is sold, however, this will take time, as these people often lead chaotic lives and are difficult to find.

Artful Pelican will hold a further five or six exhibitions throughout the year. The next one, which is planned for later this year, will be called Isn’t it iconic don’t you think?, and will feature iconic prints of people, places and things.

For more information, please contact:

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