A thriving new partnership is bubbling in Kidsgrove between Appetite and Canal & River Trust which aims to develop a number of arts and cultural initiatives to better connect the Trent & Mersey Canal, town centre and train station.
The two initiatives will together harness their skills and expertise to work with the community to deliver a series of art projects on and around the canal. Kidsgrove is a town of connections, with the canal, railway, and major roads close by, and it’s this theme that runs through all the projects.
Appetite and Canal & River Trust are delivering three themed projects working with artists and members of the community. The range of work spans murals, light projections and clay stacks, and will see ‘artists-in-residence’ spending time in Kidsgrove and with members of the community, developing their work in response to what they experience.
Journeys is the first project to get underway and will be in partnership with We Are Culla to create a mural artwork for, and with Kidsgrove, around the theme of journeys, supported by Go Kidsgrove. We Are Culla sent out postcards asking residents what it’s like to live in Kidsgrove and they’ve now used that to come up with two designs which residents will have the chance to vote on. The winning design will be installed near the train station in the new year.
The environment is a theme that will be explored in different ways by two projects. Rebecca Huxley will be creating Riparian Ecologies which will run until March 2022 and will be holding ‘observatory’ sessions for the community where they can go along, have a chat with her, see what she’s discovered and created. She’ll be focussing on wildlife and the environment, linking science and art, and will create sound installations as part of her project.
The second environment themed project is Letting in the Light by Kidsgrove Scavengers. Community groups will be able to take part in workshops to create flags and claystacks, using things found in the area, which will be positioned on the canal to act as a welcome to people. A celebration day will be held in March to mark the culmination of all the projects.
Appetite Director Gemma Thomas said: “Canals are a prominent part of our area, they weave and connect city, town and country and we’ve been waiting to be able to do a project on the canal for years. It’s been wonderful to talk and work with Canal & River Trust and discover we share the same passions and enthusiasm for our local environment and working with the community. We’ve been able to develop a really fruitful partnership that’s seeing this cluster of projects take off. All the projects involve talking, listening and working with the community to shape these artworks and residencies that will take place. We want to help canals be welcoming, well used spaces that help benefit everyone’s wellbeing.”
Nicola Lewis-Smith from Canal & River Trust said: “The Trent & Mersey Canal is a lovely canal that connects the local communities to green spaces right on the heart of towns and cities. Creating art that local people have voted for is a great way to encourage communities to come and explore their local canal and spend some time next to water.
“Research shows that being by water makes you feel happier and healthier so I would urge everyone to visit their local stretch and enjoy spending time away from the hustle and bustle.”
The current projects are going to culminate in early spring with a project by Illuminos that will see the entrance of Harecastle Tunnel come to life with a story and projection shaped with the community. Appetite and Canal & River Trust plan that this is the start of a more lasting partnership in the area.
Appetite is always keen to work with partners to help deliver activity, ensuring resources go as far as possible by working with other organisations and community groups. Appetite are pleased to add Canal & River Trust as partners to help support their work in Kidsgrove, where they already work with partners GoKidsgrove.