LS6 Street treats
Words: Ruth Overy
Photography: Kobey Taylor
Leeds artists have been brightening up their neighbourhood pavements. Just off Headingley centre and north of the cricket ground there are 20 Virgin Media Communication boxes, which the Ash Road Area Residents Association (ARARA) gained permission to paint and decorate, all with the aim of improving the look of the area. YEA!!!!
ARARA works to make our neighbourhood more pleasant and we always wanted to encourage community arts projects to beautify the area. An open invitation was issued by ARARA for local artists to submit designs. We sent requests to Leeds College of Art, East Street Arts, Becketts University Student Union, University of Leeds and to residents. There were very few restrictions on design, but they did have to suit our mixed residential area. We had a fabulous response of stunning art work and the 20 best were given their very own cable cabinet to decorate.
Recycled paint was obtained from Leeds Seagulls and discounted anti-graffiti lacquer from another local company EASY-ON. Brushes and support were provided, and the artists braved the winter weather to get started and finished. It was tough going in the beginning, but so far the project has been a great success and has received enormous support from councillors, other community groups and street art lovers.
The artists themselves were astounding. Often out there in the serious cold, damp and dark (one artist used her mobile phone torch to paint by) and somehow never grumbling. It took hours and hours of patient work for each of them, coming back to do more whenever there was a stretch of decent weather. The residents association is enormously grateful to them. If you want to take a look yourself they can be found on Ash Road, Canterbury Drive, Derwentwater Terrace and Langdale Avenue.
BECKY SILVIERA, ARTIST
“This has been such an exciting project to work on, and it has been so uplifting people commenting on the design work whilst I was out painting in the street, giving me a real sense of achievement and that I’m doing something very positive for the people who live here. The creative freedom this brief has provided me with was also extremely liberating, giving me the opportunity to produce design work I am very proud of.”
KATIE MCGREGOR HUGHES, RESIDENT
“The artists are bringing colour and creativity to our neighbourhood. Each box is so individual and they bring us joy every time we pass them. Sometimes the streets of Headingley can look a bit sad and neglected, but these splashes of colour cheer them right up!”
“We enjoy seeing our paint put to good use in the community and are happy to support community arts projects that bring colour and good vibes to the city streets.”
KEN PAYNE, RESIDENT
“serendipity – ‘surprised by happy events on making pleasant discoveries’. This word exactly describes my response to these decorated boxes on display. The very real delight as one comes across the many varied and beautifully executed designs. I have found certain designs that have become my favourites – so much so I stand and stare! These splendid young artists have brought something very special to us and our daily coming and going. I think one more word precisely sums up my response: endaemonic – ‘conducive to happiness’!”