Points of Interest: Art on the Move

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Points of Interest: Art on the Move is an Arts and Health Walks project that for the past three months has met on a weekly basis to go out walking and produce some wonderful artworks.

With an emphasis on walking being good for mental health as well as physical health we visited Bradgate Park, Coventry Transport Museum, Hollycroft Park and Coalville’s Art Trail; along with the help of artist Julia Smith participants have produced artworks depicting the four walks whilst exploring different methods of art by using paint, pastels and print.

We are now exhibiting the group’s fabulous work in the Atkins Building’s reception area from June 7th until July 12th, we invite you to visit and enjoy the wonderful work made.

For more information on how to get to the Atkins Building please go to http://www.atkinsbuilding.co.uk/contact/

Check in again next week for photos, quotes and even an interview with artist Julia Smith as we celebrate Points of Interest and the unveiling of some lovely art!

‘Showcase Smoothie’ anthology launch as part of National Poetry Day

As I’ve mentioned before I am currently very fortunate to be project managing ‘Showcase Smoothie’, an Arts Council England funded, literature and music based project, targeting predominantly young black men with experience of mental health problems.

The project is championed by John Short CEO of Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust, Professor Lord Kamlesh Patel of Bradford and Dr Mohammed Al-Uzri and partnered by The University of Leicester, Akwaaba Ayeh, renaissance one, BrightSparks (Arts in Mental Health Group), Beauty and Utility Arts, The Y Theatre and Leicester Adult Skills and Learning College.

This National Poetry Day (October 4th) ….

Come to ‘Lyric Lounge Leicester’ for a stella line up of one-off appearances…From the Emmy award winning, Kwame Dawes to Pauline Black – and THIS – the really, really exciting launch of ‘Poems to Read – before u die’ – The Showcase Collective’s’ already much lauded, debut anthology. Come down, get involved and discover new opportunities for your own development.

Showcase Smoothie, The Anthology Launch

Come on down for the launch of the ‘Showcase Smoothie’ collective’s first anthology!

‘Showcase Smoothie’ literature and music based project, led by Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust, is designed to showcase the talent of young black men with experience of mental health issues and has attracted national attention. www.showcasesmoothie.com

The launch will feature members of the collective performing alongside editor, Roy McFarlane and  mentor, Kwame Dawes. Delicious refreshments provided. Mingle and pick up a copy of the book!

WHERE: Central Library, Bishop Street TIMES: From 4.15pm

To reserve your place at this event, contact Project Manager, Katherine Brown at beautyandutilityarts@hotmail.co.uk

The Showcase Collective’s Anthology, ‘Poems to Read – Before u Die’ is being produced and launched in partnership with ‘The Lyric Lounge’ (www.lyriclounge.co.uk) and it’s managing organisation, Writing East Midlands. It has been further supported by ‘Everybody’s Reading’ – Leicester festival of books and reading. Showcase Smoothie is funded by Arts Council England. Follow the project at www.showcasesmoothie.com

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

                             

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.

ttfn

Katherine