A Canal Exhibition: Showcasing Community Arts

A Canal Exhibition: Showcasing Community Arts

A fantastic Leeds community arts project is set to take off next month, when three new schemes come together to transform the towpath in time for the bicentenary celebrations this October. With the help of some amazing creatives, Canal Connections will help to transform the space with a flypostered gallery, a completed graffiti bridge and a trail of yarn-bombed lampposts leading the way through the new and unexpected exhibition of talent.

Graffiti workshops and Wellington Bridge

Stemming from the success of the graffiti workshops at Leeds Waterfront Festival in June, the amazing spray painted wall on Wellington Bridge will be finished off for spectators and walkers to enjoy. This project is led by local graffiti artist Hyrograff who works to bring artists and young people together to share their skills and collaborate on projects just like this.

The scheme looks at the overall problem of anti-social behaviour along the canal, including unsightly tagging along the towpath, and the response to this from regular tow path users and the organisations employed to take care of the waterways. It’s been noticed that the art created at the festival hasn’t been tagged over, reflecting the success of a similar project created by the team in 2015 along the canal close to Thwaite Mills Museum. This implies that the young people taking part in the graffiti appreciate the art that’s been made, but maybe don’t have the skills to recreate artwork that organisations responsible for the space, as well as the public, can enjoy too. Well that’s where we come in!

Workshops will be organised to encourage the young people doing the tagging to share their designs, build on their skills and develop their creativity…which in the end will encourage artwork along the canal that everyone can enjoy, starting with the completion of Wellington Bridge. Hyrograff will also create a new artwork on the wrought iron gates at Armley Mills Industrial Museum, another site plagued by 'tagging'.

The workshops will be complemented by a number of audio-interviews with the people taking part, including taggers and those leading the workshops!

Portraits of the canal

In the run up to Leeds Waterfront Festival, we commissioned a team of photographers led by Mark Wheelwright to shoot the buzz of the people that use the canal on a daily basis. This captivating gallery has been shown at the launch party of LWF Festival, and some have been shared on social media, but we needed a way to show the masses and as this section of the towpath becomes increasingly busy with commuters, walkers and cyclists alike, there's no better spot than along the canal where the images were originally captured!

In order for the people who use the canal the most to see the gallery of photos, we will be creating a 'fly-posted' gallery along the canal, where passers-by will be able to enjoy them from the towpath. Could you be one of featured portraits of life along the canal....pop down and find out!

A fantastic way to bring art to the water, the gallery will deteriorate over time and we can’t wait to see the character of the exhibition when it comes to the winter months!

Warming up the lamp-posts!

After the success of the colourful and creative knitted barge (everyone was talking about it!), Knitting Communities Together will be at it again, as they create a trail of knitted lampposts that will lead the way from Granary Wharf to the wonderful heritage of Armley Mills Industrial Museum.

A fantastic way to brighten the start of the journey for work boat The Kennet, as it recreates the first ever canal journey along the completed Leeds & Liverpool canal in 1816 and travels all the way to Liverpool, the lampposts will be a simple and effective wat to brighten up the canal and divert a little bit of tagging along the way.

All three of these projects will have the canal ready and looking fabulous for the weekend commencing 14th October, when the bicentenary celebrations commence and we love the unusual collaboration between graffiti artists, knitters and photographers in the making!

We’re cleaning up the Leeds canal – Can you help?

We’re cleaning up the Leeds canal – Can you help?

All aboard with Radio Leeds!

All aboard with Radio Leeds!