WARRINGTON town centre is being transformed into an exciting community hub of creative activity, thanks to a new project from Warrington Contemporary Arts Festival.
The Arts Council England-funded venture is being delivered in partnership with Warrington Borough Council, Warrington BID, and the National Trust and is set to brighten up the town centre with an unmissable display of visual art, performance, sculpture, light installations and more.
Introducing the project is dancer and artist Joshua Harriette, who unveiled the first part of his spellbinding light installation in the former Contact Warrington building in Horsemarket Street last week.
Originally from St Helens, Joshua went on to study at the Rambert School of Ballet & Contemporary Dance, before going on to work with huge names such as the Michael Clark Company, Sir Richard Alston, Matthew Bourne’s New Adventure, Ballet Black & INALA.
Joshua is delighted to be returning home to share his latest creation that combines his love of movement with a dazzling light display.
He said: “I am very much buzzing to be working with Culture Warrington. It brings a sense of full circle, with having the opportunity of coming back home to Warrington and St Helens, where my journey with the arts began.”
The Public Art Commissions project features the work of nine artists, including two who will be calling on members of the public to help them create their work.
Sarah Harris will be paying tribute to remarkable people across the borough by asking the public to nominate their friends, neighbours, or community heroes to help her create her work by throwing balloons of paint to create a vibrant, celebratory collage of colour.
Sarah said: “There’s often a sense of pride in being part of a community, and behind this are individuals who help to develop this social cohesion; by for example, working to reduce isolation, giving their time to help others or by being a good friend.
“This work is a celebration of the people who go that extra mile to support our communities, with aims to unearth the characteristics that feature in our neighborhoods and learn about the benefits strengthening kinship on our streets.”
Visual storyteller Daisy James is stepping into Warrington history to document the changing face of business; from independent stores that have stood the test of time, to market stall stalwarts, and thriving industrial leaders.
Eager to unravel personal tales and memories, photos and family histories, Daisy is keen to gather material from Warrington residents past and present.
She said: “For me community means togetherness and being binded to others by a shared sense of time and space. When I think of the Warrington community, I think of the past, present and future of our town centre’s high streets and reflect on the shopkeepers and business owners who are responsible for the transformation of our industrial landscape. In being a part of this community, I recognise that I am connected to my fellow townspeople by a shared heritage that informs how we continue to grow and diversify.”
Information on contributing to Sarah and Daisy’s projects can be found on Warrington Contemporary Arts Festival’s website and social media pages.
With six other fabulous artists waiting to reveal their works, this diverse project is set to breathe a new lease of life into Warrington locations, whilst bringing a touch of hope to the community.
Leah Biddle, Cultural Manager of Culture Warrington, said: “The absence of top-quality art over the past several months has left a real hole in Warrington’s cultural scene, in addition to having a devastating impact on the livelihoods of our talented creatives.
“However, this fantastic new project offers a real chink of light as we showcase our incredible, homegrown talent in a dynamic but Covid-safe way.
“Each work is being developed in accordance with the latest government guidelines and can be viewed outdoors for free when passing.
“We encourage everyone to adhere to Covid restrictions, to maintain social distancing, and enjoy the work with responsibility and respect for others.”