Arts Centre Group has a proud history of mentoring young up and coming artists who have studied in their chosen field and seek advice and clarification of ways to progress in their chosen career whilst maintaining their faith. We have run Mentoring Days with workshops, discussions & advice given by experienced members. We have also enabled one to one mentoring at times.

More recently, we have engaged with London based, Morphe Arts which was set up to mentor young graduates in the arts.


Alastair Gordon, Artist


Alastair Gordon provided the input for a fascinating mentoring session at Departure Arts Café, East London. He talked about his journey as an artist and how he came to be director of the Husk art gallery at Departure, and also director of Morphé, an organisation which mentors recent arts graduates. He covered aspects of the contemporary art scene including how to approach galleries with a view to exhibiting work and also some of the pitfalls to avoid. After a look at the current exhibition at Husk we visited Alastair’s studio where he showed us both recent work and work in progress. A number of pieces appeared in his recent ’DanishDeparted’ exhibition. Inspired by Departure’s history of once having been a Danish seamen’s mission and using a style of illusory painting called ’quodlibet’, Alastair’s work displays both observational skill and a thoughtful sensitivity to the surrounding locale.

You can hear Alastair talk about this exhibition here:

Alastair’s input prompted a lively discussion and all who attended thoroughly appreciated the day.



A small group of us visited Ann Bridges’ open studios in the delightful village of Otford, near Sevenoaks, on Saturday 21st June. Ann is now based there having moved from Wales. She was a very hospitable host,talking about her work and giving a demonstration of her painting process which involves using oil based inks to create striking vibrantly coloured paintings. It was great to see some of the original works whose images have graced the pages of e-info over the years. Ann also has quite a collection of sketchbooks (top shelf of bookcase in photo) which act as a visual diary of her life. It was fascinating to look through them and see how they capture all sorts of moments ranging from visits to the theatre, time relaxing on holiday, drawings of friends etc. Drawing and painting are obviously in Ann’s bones and her sketch book an almost constant companion in her travels.

To see Ann’s work please visit:


Pat Harvey, Artist, Writer, TV Researcher


Pat is a Writer/Researcher for television and has worked on the ’South Bank Show’, ’Arena’, BBC4 ’Legends’ and BBC ’South Today’ as well as on various corporate productions.

See her TV showreel at ’Pat Harvey Showreel’ on YouTube.

Pat is also a watercolourist specialising in Paris, London and floral subjects. She has exhibited widely including at the Brighton Festival and the Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolour. In addition she writes on art for Third Way and Artists & Illustrators Magazine.

Pat talked about her work in these fields. Visual artists were encouraged to bring samples/photographs of their work for discussion.


Cathy Sara


A number of us met with actress, Cathy Sara, at St Paul’s Cathedral Café on a Saturday in May. Cathy shared about how she got into acting, the highs and lows of her career, and the challenges of living out life as a committed Christian in the acting world. She talked about her experiences in film and on Radio, including working with director Mike Leigh, acting on Downton Abbey TV and her role in the Archers for Radio 4. There was plenty of interaction with the opportunity for those starting our in their careers to ask lots of questions. It was a very helpful time and Cathy’s experience and enthusiasm were eagerly appreciated by all present.

Cathy’s profile can be found here.



Jim Paul at L’Abri


On a Friday in March the Mentoring Group visited L’Abri in Hampshire where Jim Paul gave an insightful lecture on getting more out of watching movies. Using a number of film clips he encouraged us to look at films, not simply as something we like or dislike (even the lowly amoeba knows what is likes and dislikes!), but to look beyond our personal preferences, engage our intelligence, and try to see what the film is trying to say on a deeper level. Just because we may not like a film doesn’t mean it is a bad film. Film has a language of communication which, like all languages, can be learnt. The time taken to do so would significantly increase the viewer’s appreciation. He stressed the importance of respecting the film’s genre, for example not trying to look at an art house film and expect it to be like a Hollywood film. Each genre has its own criteria for judging success. He also encouraged us to look at the small details and ask questions such as why a particular detail was included and to think about why a scene was portrayed in a particular way.


Douglas Rickard, Visual Artist


The mentoring group met with visual artist Douglas Rickard at Chorak café in Finchley where there was an exhibition of his work. Douglas talked about his approach to making art and stressed the importance of the Christian artist’s role as a servant and of being a contributor to society. This includes producing work that people appreciate and are prepared to buy. For Douglas it isn’t enough to produce interesting work that no one is prepared to pay for! He wants to impact people and has no qualms about producing work that ’is for the market’. He talked about how using social media such as eBay and Facebook had been extremely helpful in promoting his work and reaching a wider audience. A friend had asked him to put her work online for sale and this prompted Douglas to do the same for his own work. This was the springboard that enabled him to produce art on a full time basis. For more about Douglas’ work please visit


Lara Pilcher


Dancer, singer & actress, Lara Pilcher (centre in photo), gave an inspirational talk about her work and faith. She shared her love of outreach and the importance of mentoring others. She said that it would be preferable to be remembered for motivating and inspiring others than for ’making it’ in one’s own Career – though the latter should be welcomed if it happens. She referred to her time as a dance teacher in an Australian Academy and describe how she got to take on the organisation of Project Dance in London. It was a step of faith as she had little previous experience of organising a project of this size.


The following Saturday we attended the Project Dance public performance (organised by Lara Pilcher). Dancers travelled from all over the world (including a group from Puerto Rico) for this event. It was a day of fantastic, and varied dance. The event had a low key, but distinct Christian theme.


Studio Visit Jon Willcocks


Illustrator and graphic designer, Jon Willcocks, is a former ACG Board member. The mentoring group visited his studio near Slough around midday. Jon’s profile can be seen on the ACG website. Jon was involved in the design of the first full colour edition of the Good News Bible.

Jon showed us his illustrations and talked about his work as a graphic designer. Jon produces brochures for schools and other organisations using fantastic photographs which are presented and manipulated in very imaginative ways. He also stressed the importance of the business aspect of any successful artistic enterprise.


Stephen Owen, Craftsman In Wood


The mentoring group visited ACG member Stephen Owen at his studio in Cranleigh, Surrey. Stephen recounted how the peace of God touched him as he watched his original studio burn down. Instead of despairing, this motivated him to rebuild. We were privileged to see the finished result and also to see items which he had made out of wood. These were made to an incredibly high standard, these included furniture, a briefcase and even wooden bow ties! It was a very inspiring day.


Visual Artist Ellen Anderson


The Mentoring Group met at the café of St Paul’s Cathedral where Ellen Anderson talked about and showed photographs of her artwork, She also shared about her involvement with Artslink, an outreach programme run by Operation Mobilisation.


If you are interested in attending one of these mentoring events, please email Colin Burns in the ACG office giving your name, contact details and your artistic discipline(s). If you are not a member you will be put on the Mentoring Mailing list and notified whenever there is an event. ACG members automatically receive our newsletter which includes details of mentoring and other events.

Starting out in the arts can be difficult and all artists need encouragement. This is our aim through mentoring to share experience and give that encouragement. Why not come? Click here to contact the office.