Showcase Smoothie

 

Showcase Smoothie was project managed by Beauty and Utility Arts for its first three years.

Showcase Smoothie is a major new literature and music based project, led by Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust (LPT) and partnered by a range of arts, health and educationally based organisations. It is Patronised by the internationally acclaimed poet and performer, Jean ‘Binta’ Breeze, MBE and Championed by Lord Patel of Bradford, OBE; Dr Mohammed Al-Uzri and Dr. Peter Miller, CEO of LPT.

The project was designed to showcase the talents of people with experience of mental health problems, and has a particular focus on young black men. An artistic programme of workshops, mentoring and development, launched in March 2012.

 Showcase collage

Creative Hinckley Members Showcase

Beauty and Utility Arts are lucky enough to be members of Creative Hinckley. Our office is based on Creative Hinckley’s Creative Corridor in the Atkins Building so we’re surrounded by fellow creatives each and every day.

As members of Creative Hinckley we were invited to take part in the Creative Hinckley Members Showcase that is currently being exhibited in the gallery. The exhibition was installed and opened to the public on 14th August and will remain open until 7th September, so wander on down and enjoy all of the fantastic work on show!!

Below are a couple of photos courtesy of Ed Brown taken on the 15th August at the exhibitions Private View. We hope you love them as much as we do!ImageImageImageImageImageImageImage

Thanks Ed!

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Dave’s Leicester Comedy Festival

I’ve worked with Dave’s Leicester Comedy Festival on two Arts and Health projects since 2006 and have recently taken part in a podcast talking about my experiences.

Here’s the link if you would like a listen. I’m on about minute 41, but do listen to the whole podcast if you have the time, because it’s a fabulous reflection of what The Comedy Festival means to the city, its performers, audiences and those visiting.

http://m.soundcloud.com/roger-clegg/dlcf-podcast

The BrightSparks: Comedy Asylum best of show will be at The Guildhall in Leicester on Saturday 16th February between 7 and 9pm. We very often sell out, so get in touch on 07908 750187 if you’re interested in coming along. Tickets are only a few pounds.

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Katherine

Guest artist blog – Jo Dacombe

 Seeking the Land Unknown in Hinckley

I once read a book by Lucy Lippard called “The Lure of the Local”, about returning to places that she knows and how people have relationships to places. So when I set out on a walk with the Friday group from Beauty & Utility Arts, to explore the local area in Hinckley, I was intrigued to see how they might look at their local place and how I, as an outsider, might see it.

Before I came I sent the group a map of the area around the Atkins Building, our starting point, with suggestions for several walks that they might like to do. I asked them to choose one. I was hugely encouraged when the message came back that, no, they had not opted for exploring the picturesque or pretty parks or gardens, they had chosen to go through the Industrial Estate to a brook intriguingly named the “Battling Brook”! At that point I knew that this group were true explorers after my own heart!

And what an adventure it was! We had a road map to guide us, but if you look on the road map the area that we were interested in was a big blank space, no features mapped there at all. We talked about how, when the first maps were being drawn up and areas of the world remained undiscovered, early mapmakers would leave huge areas blank and simply write “terra incognita” there (meaning “land unknown”). We were in search of our own local terra incognita.

It was tricky to locate the exact area of the terra incognita. Many old factories stood there, the old sock factory, and behind it an impressive radio tower which turned out to be part of the National Grid. We had a brief run-in with National Grid’s security who were not amused by our attempts to photograph the tower, and we had to delete the pictures! Feeling rather excited by our new status as agents of espionage, we then went on to explore: through a hole in a fence a vast concrete wasteland, spying a bridge in the distance; we admired a campervan for sale and dreamt of the freedom of the road; we followed a path along a hedge of blackberries promising good foraging for the autumn; and finally located the brook, with tales of boats, one of us had a lovely tale about a boat he nearly bought but returned to find it half submerged, where he believes it still is.

Having found the Battling Brook and speculating on how it got its name, we continued by following our noses to find a way back. Katherine was adamant that we must make a circular route and not go back on ourselves, so we wound our way through alleyways (more naming games here, should we call them jetties, passageways, alleys or cut-throughs, and what’s the difference?) and around houses, past a beautiful old church and a dilapidated building with broken windows and rusted panels, until we made it back to the Atkins Building.

Going through our photos we started to put together a map of where we had found all these “moments of beauty”, which I hope the group will continue to work on.  We discussed the idea of beauty and how different people find different things beautiful. We had found beauty in nature, decay, industrial structures, old buildings, water, fences, stories… and all within less than a mile of our starting point! It just goes to show that, when you look at the world like an artist, trying to find those “moments of beauty”, even what you thought were familiar surroundings can reveal surprising richness and an astonishing amount of interesting detail.

There is so much more to explore in Hinckley! We hope to do some more walks in the future to further explore the “lure of the local”, and I look forward to that… what will we find next time?

Find out more about joining our Points of Interest group by contacting Katherine on 07908 750187 and find out more about Jo Dacombe at http://jodacombe.blogspot.com

                             

A couple of things …

Beauty and Utility Arts has now moved to new premises at The Atkins building in Hinckley where we continue to offer a range of Arts and Health projects.

At the moment we have six weeks of Arts workshops with Fine Art student Caitlin Woodfield. Sessions are 2 till 4pm each Friday (see calendar for details) and cost £2 per person. Booking is required.

Tonight also sees the return of the BrightSparks: Comedy Asylum X rated show!

The aliens are coming …

Saturday 18th February saw another fantastic performance by the BrightSparks: Comedy Asylum team as part of Dave’s Leicester Comedy Festival.

Where else would you witness a farting meditation sketch, Tommy Cooper tribute, a death metal gardening song and aliens to name but a few.

I managed to catch the alien in question for a quick photo opportunity before he went off to take over the world …

  

If the aliens don’t strike, the new set of mental health Arts and Walking workshops start tomorrow. ‘Points of Interest’ will run for seven weeks, based at Beauty and Utility Arts’ office space on Druid Street, Hinckley.

We’ll meet in the office at 1pm, go through the planned routes (one shorter and one longer, catering for all abilities) and then head off either on foot from here or into the minibus and off out to a location within the Borough.

After the walk there is the choice to come back to the workshop and take part in an Arts based activity, inspired by the walks.

So ….

When? 1 – 4pm every Friday for the next 7 weeks (not including Good Friday)

Where? Starting at Beauty and Utility Arts on Druid Street, Hinckley and then off out walking with the option to do an Arts activity later on.

Cost? £2 per person per week

What do you need? Sensible walking shoes, a weather appropriate coat, a camera if you would like to take photographs and a snack and drink to keep you going while we’re out.

How do I get involved? Call or email Katherine Brown on (07908) 750187 or beautyandutilityarts@hotmail.co.uk to book a place and get directions to the office. 

How do I find out about other Arts and Health activities? Follow this blog or the Facebook and Twitter links at the side of the page for fortnightly project updates. Also see the events calendar for upcoming activities.

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Katherine