Dust Rising Exhibition in Stoke-on-Trent

Dust Rising at Tunstall Baths in 2016

Dust Rising – an ambitious art exhibition is taking place across nine sites in a Stoke-on-Trent, with the aim of showcasing the city as a vibrant and creative place to live.

More than 20 artists are taking part in ‘Dust Rising’ in Hanley, and each will respond to the heritage or contemporary use of the building where their art is being shown. The event will be hosted in venues such as the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery; Hanley Town Hall; Bethesda Chapel; AirSpace Gallery; and the Upstairs Gallery during the Autumn, with a ‘Dust’ trail signposting visitors from one place to another.

The event is being curated by Hanley cultural champion Joyce Iwasko and artist Dawn Jutton, and builds on the successful Dust event held two years ago to promote the City of Culture bid which saw dozens of artists display their work in civic buildings across the six towns. The notion of Dust alludes to the connection with the pottery industry known for its clay dust. “The original Dust civic venues were at the heart of local communities with several people wanting to share their stories of personal memories associated with buildings such as Tunstall baths, the Wedgwood Institute in Burslem and Fenton Library,” said Joyce. “Dust Rising is the next stage in an ambition to develop a regular and sustainable biennial visual arts project and raise the profile of the city’s creative talent by showcasing established and emerging artists associated with the city.”

She adds: “It’s hoped that Dust Rising will attract residents of the city as well as visitors to Hanley who can enjoy viewing new and dynamic art on display in inspiring buildings that are themselves a reminder of the rich cultural heritage of the area.”

Dan Hopkins, an experimental filmmaker, who is one of the artists taking part in the exhibition, said: “It’s exciting to be involved in such a large scale project across Hanley. With such great venues involved it’s interesting to work with them to create some interesting art-work. My work on show is a sound piece called ‘Effect and Legacy’ which is a site-specific piece on the effect of going to concerts at Victoria Hall over the years which is where the piece will be installed during the duration of the show.”

Other artists involved include Cristiana Cappelletti; Amy Davis; Allison Dias; James Dudley-Ward; Gabriella Gay; Paul Gosling; Kornelia Herms; Belinda Latimer; Denise O’Sullivan; Sara Penny; Sharon Porteous; Deb Rogers; Bret Shah; Terry Shave; AirSpace Studio Artists; and Stoke-on-Trent ART Group.

The opening week of September 8 coincides with the Stoke-on-Trent Remembers event, based at the Bethesda Chapel, to commemorate the sacrifices of those in the First World War.  Stoke-on-Trent’s poet laureate Stephen Seabridge has written a poem inspired by Joyce’s artwork for the ‘Bethesda Our Boys’ tribute to 39 fallen soldiers.

The six-week long event will also be accompanied by a series of special events including artists’ talks; spoken word poetry and a public debate entitled: “Can public art help regenerate a city?”  The exhibition is supported by Stoke-on-Trent City Council; Hanley City Centre Partnership; and by various cafes and bars including RAWR, The Quarter; Bottlecraft and Mart’s Brewery and Tap.

**Dust Rising takes place from September 8 until October 30 and for more information follow Dust Rising on Facebook: @dustexhibition and Twitter: @DUSTRising2

Article by Jackie Gregory