ART AT THE HEART:
Four artists, four communities
For this Arts Council England funded project delivered during lockdown in 2020, Ignite artists Angie Hardwick, Liz Von Graevenitz, Kate Sully and Lois Conlan worked with four local communities to translate their thoughts, feelings and experiences of the Covid-19 pandemic into four striking art installations. The four works includes a ceramic cog installation in Darnall, a huge mural in Sharrow, two abstract paintings displayed in the city centre and an eye-catching collection of wooden beehives, bees and flowers in Fir Vale. The pieces transform a small corner of each community with a chance to reflect, a place to have hope and somewhere to smile, and remain as a legacy to 2020.
The project also distributed 200 creativity packs to the community. These packs, curated by Ignite artists with arts resources and creative activities, aimed to inspire people to have a go at creating their own artworks at home.
Art at the Heart engaged more than 250 participants in four disadvantaged communities to share stories and get involved in the development of the artworks. Through face-to-face and online workshops, individual conversations and submitted ideas and stories, the participants also developed new skills in creativity and emotional intelligence.
“The idea was for each child to write words of how they have felt during lockdown onto their bees. English is their second language so it was a good educational tool for the boys to develop their English reading and writing skills. It was also a good tool for starting a conversation and for getting young boys to talk about their feelings and emotions whilst in a supportive and safe environment.”
“They enjoyed the creativity bag idea so much they have now decided to carry on creating work and have joined the art group with is a spin off from the larger group.”
Once the artworks were being installed, the project began to be experienced and enjoyed by a much wider section of each community as audiences for the works. We received a lot of positive feedback on the community strength and pride that can come from bringing artworks to disadvantaged communities that would otherwise miss out.
“Creating physical visible artwork in Page Hall is important to show the community that positive, creative things can happen here. The narrative about this neighbourhood and its residents is relentlessly negative which leads to behaviour to match so projects like this show people that a different narrative is possible, one that they can shape, create and control.”
“Participants feel they can now enter new areas and be more confident.”
“Thank you for creating something beautiful in our corner of Sheffield which usually gets forgotten'
Ignite always aim to leave a legacy with our projects. That there should be new skills, experiences and even culture changes within organisations and communities that will ensure creativity and artistic work can continue, and that Ignite will stay in touch and get involved where we can. Art at the Heart was no exception.
“A beautiful work for the community to enjoy and to feel part of has been left for all to enjoy. Everyone I have spoken to says how much they love it and what a surprise it has been to see. It totally lifts the area and makes a run down area look more inviting.”
“I think the long lasting impact will most strongly be felt with the boys at Step Out, Earl Marshall as they have developed in confidence, skill and pride and ownership of the work. They were empowered community members and art makers. I hope it will also enhance long term friendships between the boys, and be a special memory for them as they grow up. The bright art work I hope will also bring a positive impact not not only the local community but to also people who are just passing through the area and may have negative connotations with Fir Vale.”
LIZ VON GRAEVENITZ
WOODHOUSE - ON DISPLAY AT JORDANTHORPE
Supported using public funding by the National Lottery Through Arts Council England