Published on 12 March 2020
Friends Eve Cromwell and Jenny Mc Namara met at the University of Sunderland and are now working together to curate art in the city.
The graduates are behind an exhibition currently on display at Sunderland’s Museum and Winter Gardens, called Hot New It.
The exhibition features work from artists of different ages and backgrounds, including paintings by Professor Kevin Petrie, Head of the School of Art and Design, paintings by Kate Watson and Brenda Watson, mother and daughter who are both also graduates of the University and work by illustration and textile artist Paddy Killer.
Eve and Jenny first met when they began studying Glass and Ceramics at the University in 2014.
Jenny, from Dublin, and Eve, from Harrogate, both opted to leave their homes and come to study in the city due to the unrivaled facilities on offer to those studying the programme.
Since graduating in 2017, the pair have gone on to form The Spaghetti Factory, a curatorial project which aims to display the work of artists in pop-up and DIY-led spaces across the region.
The Hot New It shows comes after the duo received an internship from Sunderland Culture to curate three different exhibitions at the city venue between October last year and this June.
The friends have come a long way in a short time, they have worked with Middlesbrough Art Weekender, System Gallery, GOLDTAPPED and 36 Lime Street to curate exhibitions and run workshops. They have also continued making their own work and are studio holders and on the Programme Committee at The Newbridge Project.
After leaving the University, the pair shared a house in City Road, Newcastle, where they started to curate shows in their own living room.
Jenny said: “We started the project because we noticed there was a lack of opportunities for early-career artists to show experimental work, so we started to organise pop-up exhibitions, first in our house, then in collaboration with other existing art spaces.”
The name Spaghetti Factory comes from Jenny’s own final year artwork for her degree show.
The friends say they look fondly back at their university years.
Eve said: “I originally thought about doing an art degree but when I saw the facilities at the National Glass Centre, it changed my mind.”
Jenny added: “We loved making work at the Glass Centre, fantastic facilities.”
The pair say they have noticed a big difference in the cultural scene of the city in recent years.
“Going back a little while, the arts scene in Sunderland was not great,” added Jenny. “There was a real gap for contemporary work, but now it’s so much better. Sunderland Culture has come in and has done a lot of good work to support artists.”
Hot New It II is currently on display at Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens and runs until the end of March. The third and final Hot New It show will run from April - June