Rachel Pepper – community officer and celebrator of South Acton’s art scene, Londoner #106


I spend most of my life here. You know, in
the week I’m here more than I’m at home. So yeah, it acts as an important part of my life.
I work with Acton Arts Forum, an Acton community forum based as I’m doing arts and community
projects locally. The W3 Gallery opened back in 2012 and the purpose was really to encourage
arts and community activity locally. The only gallery in Ealing which seems a real pity
with so much creativity for so many local artists without any space they can share their
work so having this is a really important part of Ealing. In South Acton we’ve been
holding about three years now, we’ve got lots of different street artists exhibiting paintings
onto the walls, we’ve got about 16 or 17 pieces now. The largest being a piece that was created
a few months back called ‘Be mother by stick’ who’s a well known street artist and it’s
the biggest piece in the UK. People come now especially to see it so in that sense it’s
been fantastic. I think South Acton as an estate has changed enormously when we first
set up our office space down in South Acton in 2002, it was quite a different environment
to what it is now. People used to be afraid to go there, there were a lot of gang related
issues going on, and there was a lot of anxiety about the estate. I think that’s changed over
the years. I’m a bit concerned about some of the changes that are happening at the moment
in that Acton has been gentrified at the moment and we’re seeing a lot of people being forced
out because of the high rents and so on and so I see there’s a bit of a change going on
which concerns me really. Some of the families are having to move out because they can no
longer afford to live here or the next generation rather than being able to live close by their
families, they’re having to move out of London. My hope for the future of Acton would be that
it maintains its diversity and celebrates that history that makes it special. It’s got
a richly diverse community here and I hope that would continue into the future and be
celebrated.

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