Acomb residents create a community arts exhibition

Residents are enjoying viewing an exciting new community arts exhibition at Lidgett Grove Methodist Church, which brings to life the past and present of its surrounding area.

Lidgett Grove art wall

The extensive display is the result of an 18-week community arts project, organised by the council’s York Learning team.

It was supported by Explore York Libraries and Archives and is part of the Heritage Lottery Funded ‘York: Gateway to History’ project.

The project was developed with tutor Donna Taylor and involved 14 local residents who were either church attendees or young mums regularly attending the Lidgett Grove community cafe. York Learning team provided the project members with a free crèche. As a group they discussed how to take the project forward and decided to research their local area in detail and create an exhibition to share their findings with others.

Those taking part delved into their local history by researching streets and buildings, looking at old photos and maps, taking photos on ipads and organising discussions on changes in the areas. As part of the project Explore York Libraries and Archives arranged an introductory visit from Sarah Tester, their Community Collections and Outreach Archivist. The learners also visited the archives to search for items relating to Acomb’s local history, and were given permission by Explore to reproduce images for the exhibition.

The final work uses written articles, quizzes, activities and booklets to form a big visual display which now hangs in the corridor of the church.

Donna Taylor, artist tutor of the project said: “It was a pleasure to work closely with this group of enthusiastic residents, who have created a wonderful exhibition of interest to anyone living in the area. The project members enjoyed working together and have picked up many new skills which will help them and their community.”

Helen Andreasen, one of the participants said: “It was educational, we all worked together bouncing off each other with different ideas and input. We came together as a team to create the display. There were all ages. The experience was so rewarding, meeting the new people and making friends, but most of all we had a laugh, we had fun.”

Councillor Nigel Ayre, Executive Member for Culture, Leisure and Tourism said: “This project was set up to help church goers, local residents and different generations to bond through an arts project with common threads of interest. As a result, the church, which acts as a community space for local residents, has a fascinating piece of artwork for all to see and a stronger community group which I’m sure will continue with other ventures”.

This joint venture is a Family Learning themed ‘Then and Now’ activity which aims to build stronger communities, teach new skills and encourage volunteering. It follows in the success of other community arts projects such as the creation of a mosaic in the garden of Acomb Explore and the Face of York project by York Learning which invited residents to create portraits in different media.

The exhibition is open for viewing every Wednesday during the community coffee mornings at Lidgett Grove Methodist Church on Wednesdays between 9am and 11am.

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