The first Kirkstall Art Trail
takes place on Saturday 18 July. Organiser Amy Thompson tells us about its beginnings around a bonfire in 2014 and what's in store when the art trail opens its many doors later this month:
The idea for the trail began at St Stephens’s community garden. Just a few years ago this garden was a wasteland that was over-grown, full of rubbish and generally invisible to residents. Some local volunteers reclaimed this space and through hard work, generosity and resourceful thinking they made the space into something incredible for everyone to enjoy.
In November 2014 the volunteers and neighbours of the garden lit the BBQ for the first time and around that fire came the idea for the first Kirkstall Art Trail. Over a few bottles of wine the idea to use the space for something more creative was discussed and how, despite the abundance of creative talent and sources of inspiration, there was no communal celebration of Kirkstall's creativity. With a background in illustration, the secretary of St Stephen’s community garden was very keen to drive this idea forward and in the New Year, after a few months of talking amongst friends, we started to call for artists.
Taking inspiration from the garden where it all began, the unofficial theme for the day is reuse/recycle/reclaim. At the garden you will be able to collect maps and information, see our marvellous greenhouse constructed from plastic bottles and along the trail you'll find bunting made from recycled clothing. You can also view some lovely ‘junk’ sculptures made by children and families at the church hall.
On the day over 40 artists will be exhibiting across 20 venues in central Kirkstall. A programme of workshops and activities will be open to people of all ages who'd like to learn new creative skills and create their own original art to take home. You'll also discover interactive digital art projects and be granted free entrance to Abbey House Museum. Here you'll find a visual history of art at the Abbey plus tea, cake and a few little surprises!
The venues are as interesting and varied as the artwork, they include; St Stephens Community Garden, the Abbey and Museum, Hollybush Conservation Centre, Kirkstall Bridge Inn, WorkPlace Leeds, St Stephens Church and Village Hall, Kirkstall Educational Cricket Club and a selection of private residences.
We don’t believe this art trail will be an isolated event, it feels like we are building a community by connecting local people and organisations who share a passion for the arts. The quality of art work being created right on our doorsteps is astounding and we cannot wait to share this with the public on the 18th July.
Kirkstall Art Trail is open at various venues from 10am - 5pm on Saturday 18 July. For more updates follow Kirkstall Art Trail on Twitter @KirkstallArt