Friday, 1 November 2013

AirSpace Gallery and The Big Draw in Hanley Park

This week, AirSpace Gallery co-ordinated Stoke-on-Trent's part of The Big Draw.  The 'Big Draw' is a nationwide campaign to get people of all ages drawing and building links with museums, outdoor spaces, artists - and each other. 

As part of the ongoing Park Traces Project - a collaboration between Airspace Gallery, the University, and the City Council to creatively map and document Hanley Park -  this particular Big Draw, run by Cristina Lina, an artist from London but currently residing in Stoke and an AirSpace studio artist, sought to stretch
imaginations to model all the wild, wacky, and wonderful possible futures of Hanley Park. The project is separate from the Heritage Lottery Funding bid being put together for the Park, but the ideas can feed into that process and have an effect on the eventual decision making.


The day's activities were documented and blogged by Bob Catterall

A Bright Future For Hanley Park (Working Title) As Stoke City Council prepare to submit designs that complete a bid for Heritage Lottery funding to regenerate Hanley Park, artist Cristina Lina has been inspiring the local population to approach the redevelopment with an exciting and playful twist. As part of the Big Draw 2013, an initiative designed to 'help people see, think, invent and take action.'* in conjunction with the Park Traces  partnership, Cristina has designed a workshop that feeds directly into the proposed overhaul of the park. Using clay as diorama bases, participants were invited to re-envision the park by decorating them as imaginatively as they possible could.
Decorated with the insignia of the event organisers, including Airspace Gallery and Staffordshire University the band stand filled up quickly. Surrounded by inspiring posters that detailed previous park projects, both locally and around the world, the excited community set to work sculpting alternative visions of Hanley Park. First kneading out the clay bases into their desired shape, before decorating them  using a mix of vegetation sourced from the park, craft materials and plastic jungle animals. The public produced an intriguing set of colourful pieces limited only by their imagination, from sweetcorn banana trees and cheerful November barbecues, to broccoli shrubberies and amphibious whales.

As the day progressed, the cold set in in and the breeze chilled the band stand, but work continued   despite the turn in the weather. The workshop was a huge success, and was well attended, with over sixty people of all ages and backgrounds joining in to help shape the future of the Park. Though most people wrapped their dioramas in foil and took them home, the documentation is set to inspire a new, unified design for the park. Commissioned by Airspace Gallery as part of the Park Traces project, Cristina Lina is currently bidding to create a new piece of work informed by today's events and intended to brighten up the hoardings surrounding the bridge beside the bandstand.

Bob Catterall

A really successful and well attended event produced these amazing results - food for thought for the development stage.

No comments:

Post a comment