Ken Greenway gets Artskicker award for bringing Tower Hamlets cemetery alive
- Credit: Artskicker
Ken Greenway is the ‘super community hero’ of London’s East End who “brought a dead place alive” with thousands of volunteers.
He runs Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park, turning the once-overgrown burial grounds at Mile End into a popular 21st century community hub.
Now a panel of judges has named him their super hero, one of a raft of community figureheads recognised by famous faces in the arts, music, journalism, and theatre in east London’s first Artskickers awards.
The local council employee took over running the cemetery in 2003, which last had a burial 40 years earlier, turning it into London’s largest urban nature reserve with 23,000 volunteers every year.
But he also gets street artists to put on exhibitions in the grounds, like the murals of endangered species painted on the walls of the cemetery’s Soanes education centre last summer.
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Ken negotiated to have the annual Shuffle Festival of spooks staged there and arranges the annual Spring craft festival.
“There were many nominations for Ken,” Artskickers awards founder Angie Gough told the East London Advertiser. “He is ‘Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park’—the man who brought a dead place alive.”
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The awards ceremony launched by the mother-of-three from Hackney, which featured street artists DFace and Bablu Miah, musician Tinchy Stryder and stand-up comedian MC Kat, used the arts to give deprived youngsters “a leg up” in life.
They were held on Wednesday at The Stage development in Shoreditch, on the site of Shakespeare’s original Curtain Theatre, promoting arts that tackle east London’s “poverty divide”.
Other awards included the ‘Kickstarter’ title which went to Ruff Sqwad Arts Foundation in Bow for helping emerging artists into careers in the arts.
‘Smartist’ title went to Hoxton Street Monster Supplies and the Ministry of Stories for business creativity, while ‘People’s Choice’ went to Marie and Brian at Dalston’s Eastern Curve Garden.
‘Future Artists’ awards went to pupils at Gayhurst Primary in Hackney for turning an old bike shed into a gallery and to secondary school members of Twist Theatre company graduating from Hackney Empire’s Artist Development programme.