Our Art Neighbourhood is an ongoing part of our activities which aims to engage local people in art, build community spirit and make visible improvements to our streets.
Our first project took place between July – November 2014 and employed local and regional professional artists to inspire children, young people and adults in visual arts activity. It included:
- A school-based digital art summer club for children.
- A summer graffiti project for young people.
- An urban knitting or ‘yarn bombing’ project for adults and young people.
- Production of two billboards for public display.
- Use of an empty property to display an exhibition by local professional artists.
Well over 300 people took part in the various workshops led by artists (such as local graffiti artist Gecko), and thousands of people were able to see the results. Our neighbourhood was transformed for several weeks as the streets became our art gallery, populated by the colours and textures of art works which celebrated local creativity and presented a positive image of to a wider audience.
A great video of the project can be seen here.
Our Art Neighbourhood was funded by Arts Council England (via Grants for the Arts) and Leigh Neighbours Partnership Board. We were delighted too that it received support in kind from local businesses and partners, including Wigan Council, WLCT, Trust in Leigh, Clear Channel, JDS Printers, PDC Distribution and Cre-8 Media Ltd.
After the success of the first Our Art Neighbourhood project, there was a desire by local residents to see more permanent art works in the area, as a way of improving the visual landscape and street scene.
Over the past couple of years, we have started to do just that by engaging artists who are good at working with people to achieve small scale but beautiful public art works. We have been looking to make improvements to neglected spaces in our area, including street corners and verges.
Inspired by the Incredible Edible movement, we have commissioned a planter sculpture from artist Mark Mennell which is now sited on the corner of Windermere Road and Glebe Street. Children from Leigh Central Primary School contributed to the design and it really brightens up the street corner. We are growing edible plants and herbs in it which are free for residents to use.
Local artist Martyn Lucas, who has been co-ordinating Our Art Neighbourhood from the beginning, has recently worked with children from Sacred Heart Catholic Primary School to make ‘bollard art’. These vinyl wraps have been inspired by looking at archive photographs of the area, local buildings and trees. They are making a colourful and informative addition to our streets.
Further sites are being investigated and local people will be involved in designing more art works, including children from St Mary’s and St John’s Primary Schools, in the near future.