For the Tullie House Museum Artful Way, Lindsay Atkinson spent time with a number of community groups to explore Carlisle’s urban landscape, it’s amazing Street Art by Blank Wall Assassins and the five ways to wellbeing:
Connect, Be active, Take notice, Keep learning and Give.
The groups Lindsay worked with included Adults who attend the Carlisle Mencap walking group, young people from the LGBTQ+ centre, adults who were part of the Recovery Through Activity group and young people from Syria, Sudan and Carlisle.
Here’s what Lindsay says about their creations and their time together.
The groups we spent time with have been particularly isolated throughout their lives and the Pandemic, so it was even more important for us to plan a safe and fun activity for their return to the museum.
Any activity has been extremely difficult this past year … you could say it’s been a blank wall.
After spending such a long time unable to connect with friends in the community, the Artful Ways trails were the perfect way to help people reunite, reconnect and explore their familiar town in an unfamiliar way. It’s not easy for everyone to leave the city, so the trail introduced people to the idea that there is plenty more to discover and create locally.
While the galleries were closed and the city was locked-down, the street art was always there, but not always noticed. While art is for everyone and is everywhere, you have to look for it sometimes … so that’s exactly what we did!
There is no specific route for the trail, so I created a way that involved us having to move through green spaces and historical places. All of our ways look a little different, but take you through Bitt’s Park, past Carlisle Castle to an Old Fire station, through the city’s back alleys (watch out for those pigeons!) finally ending in the city’s historic quarter and Tullie House Museum’s Secret Garden.
Back at the Secret Garden each participant was asked to draw something from their Artful way, something they’ve missed or something important to them. Some people drew pictures, some people drank tea and some people were too busy talking. Our time together was relaxed, fun and natural.
Inspired by our own piece of Urban Art (Tullie House Museum’s garden drainpipe now has a collection of over 100 stickers from people’s visit to the museum), each drawing made within the Artful ways sessions has been made into a sticker and displayed on a drain-pipe inside the gallery.
The theme is: art is everywhere and for everyone. In a similar way to the Street Art Trail, the stickers are a collection of individual ideas, creative energy and will connect with people in different ways.
5 ways to Wellbeing
The Artful ways Blank Wall Assassin trail connected the groups with their city in a completely new way! The trail enabled people to re-connect with their friends, their city and their own creative minds.
Exercise is fun when you forget you’re doing it! Each outing took us approximately 1 hour.
Art is all around you. While moving through the city, we encouraged the group to look for art around them. We spoke about the illegal art made in the night and the great big pieces of art commissioned by world-famous artists. We noticed everything.
We learnt about each piece of street art, their meanings and the artists behind them, and we learnt about the buildings the art is painted onto.
Each person who took part in Artful Ways gave their time, company, conversation and creativity.
Our conversations: Thinking about the three Artful questions
Creativity – What does creativity/culture mean to you?
Creativity is what brings us together. Creativity is how we communicate. Creativity needs to get out of you.
Covid-19 has forced us all to reimagine ways to connect. What have you missed – and what new possibilities have opened up?
We’ve missed dancing in a room to music, our friends and a time when there was less anxiety. Zoom helps you to see other people but it’s not the same as being together. This trail has been a reason to connect with people.
Place – How can we look after each other and our environment?
Talk to people who are on their own – say hi!
Keep nature tidy and find things to do closer to where you live so you don’t pollute the environment.
Wear your mask to protect other people.