Up Your Street: Leicestershire Artists bring Art to the streets in new project

Three artists in Leicestershire break down barriers to accessing the arts as they bring their work out onto the streets where they live.

Thanks to funding from Arts Council England, Leicester-based Vehicle Arts are launching an innovative new project- Up Your Street that sees theatre and visual art being brought out into the communities of Saffron Lane in Leicester, Leicester Forest East, and Loughborough.

Up Your Street sees three local artists deliver work to their community across June and July. Each artist applied for the opportunity to be part of the project, which is managed by Vehicle Arts who work with emerging artists and give them opportunities to experiment and develop their craft.

Rebecca Harvey- Hobbs from Vehicle Arts said: “Since the pandemic, the Arts have been one of the most affected industries, with theatres and galleries all closed to the public. As we emerge from lockdown, it’s vital that we encourage audiences to engage with the Arts in different ways. Because we know that it may take a long while for some people to feel safe inside artistic spaces again. But the arts cannot be paused, so we need to find new ways of presenting them in the meantime, that’s why we are working with artists to take art out into the street and reach audiences beyond the gallery.”

Say It Again, Sorry?  will be presenting their project, Easel Peasel on Saturday 12th and Sunday 13th June on Park Drive, Leicester Forest East, 11am-4pm.

Easel Peasel is an interactive art experience that focuses on drawing the artist out of everybody. Participants can book for the characters to arrive at their front doors at a specified time via the Next Door App or can take part whenever they see the troupe running down the street. During the event, participants will receive a brand-new arts pack and Easel Peasel apron to help them engage with the activity as safely as possible. A standalone easel will be provided, including an array of colourful paints.

Louise Goodfield, Co-Company Director of Say It Again, Sorry? said: “The opportunity to get creative on a local scale, literally in the street where we live, whilst developing our contacts and access to the community with Vehicle Arts support, was such an exciting prospect – we felt that this could help us to instil a sense of reassurance in the public that interactive theatre and participatory arts are needed more than ever, not just on a grand scale in big cities and state of the art theatres, but in high streets, parks and shopping centres – and it can be delivered just as safely in a post-covid era.”

She continued: “We’d like to thank Hobbycraft for supplying Easel Peasel with so many amazing art supplies to aid in connecting people to their inner artist! Hobbycraft will be opening a much- anticipated store in Thurmaston in Leicester in July and are already making such a positive impact on the community, as a result of this collaboration.”

To Book: Message Say It Again, Sorry? on the Next Door App to have the characters arrive at your door, email [email protected] or simply turn up and spot them in the street!

The second of the art installations is called Blooming Lovely and is created by Alison Carpenter-Hughes. It’s a bold and beautiful installation at the front of her house, incorporating a display of textiles and flowers using an array of upcycled items. The installation will be a celebration of life, renewal and joy; giving what Alison hopes will be a moment in time and place for people to stop, reflect and enjoy. Also, creating a little pit stop for pollinators!

Alison said: “I live on a typical city street; one that is busy, noisy and built up. There isn’t really any art in this area, so I wanted to bring an element of colour and creativity to the street, creating something that would be beneficial to nature and that has a use, that isn’t just nice to look at, and can be good for bees and other pollinators. My installation includes old, used and found objects, some of which have been kindly donated by people in the community. It would be great if visitors are inspired to look at things they would normally throw away with fresh eyes and find ways to be playful, perhaps giving objects a new lease of life. The ‘Up Your Street’ project has given me a wonderful opportunity to work in new ways in process and material; on a larger scale, and in an outdoor setting. I want to push the boundaries of how I use textiles and other media with the aim of what I hope is a positive impact on my local community.”

 Blooming Lovely will be on display from Monday 5th July to 31st July, Cavendish Road, Leicester.

The final piece is by artist Andy Harper and is called Leavings. This piece is an interactive installation built by the artist. Rubbish and litter from the local area will be repurposed into a sculpture that will be position in front of Andy’s house. The aims of this installation are to create an immersive & meditative environment that is accessible, fun and inspiring; whilst also challenging the neighbourhood and the wider community to consider the environmental impact that we are having on the planet.

This installation responds to human interaction.  A proximity sensor will be mounted on a board at the front of Andy’s home which will trigger soundscapes which have been generated from recordings of the litter being cut, compressed, dropped, or manipulated. The intention is to emulate sounds found in nature – from the gentle blowing of the wind through the leaves to the song of a morning bird.

On why he wanted to apply to become of the artists commissioned for Up Your Street, Andy said: “I spent parts of lockdown like many others walking around my local area and in the country.  I am very fortunate to live around the Charnwood Forest, however I found myself facilitating litter picks in the area during lockdown, as some areas
(particularly wild woods without access teams ) saw a sharp rise in traffic, which unfortunately resulted in more rubbish and fly tipping.

The installation will attempt to raise awareness to the issues that we have faced both culturally and environmentally.  Culturally, unlike other countries it feels like we are not as proactive at teaching future generations the correct outdoor etiquette from a young age.

Environmentally – we are also guilty of creating and disposing of too much rubbish.  I hope that an installation built out of waste will raise awareness to the unsustainable way that we are collectively agreeing to live on this planet.”

 Leavings will be available for the public to see from Sunday 4th July- 31st July. And can be seen on Burton Street, in Loughborough.

To find out more about the artists and Up Your Street, visit www.vehiclearts.uk

Up Your Street- Supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England

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