Some had a vague idea of LeftCoast through the much publicised Blam! and the Spare Parts Festival, but for some there was still an air of mystery to exactly what LeftCoast was all about.
A brief overview of Blackpool and Wyre’s successful Creative People and Places bid came from the two Michaels, both executed with razor sharp wit. LeftCoast’s Creative Director, Michael Trainor, used funny anecdotes of collecting vacuums to explain the importance of the three year project. Whilst Wyre Council’s Michael Ryan cheekily hinted at party politics as he delivered a pitch perfect background of the consortium’s bid.
Once the formalities and history of LeftCoast were explained it was onto the snappy one minute presentation of not only past/current projects, but the up and coming ones too.
First up was LeftCoast Creative Engagement Manager, Kerenza McClarnan, who introduced us to the Growing People project which is a piece of community engagement work that will encourage local residents to take part in creative activities to transform green spaces. It’s a project lead by artists from Avant Gardening and Squash Nutrition.
Next up were two presentations around shows coming to the Fylde Coast, with Ruth Eastwood from Blackpool’s Grand Theatre and Maggie Clarke from outdoor performance art company Without Walls. Ruth discussed the summer blockbuster coming to the Grand that is BLAM!, whilst Maggie discussed the intriguing yet exciting tale of ecological crisis, As the World Tips, which is coming free to local residents this autumn.
Catchphrase of the morning had to go to LeftCoast’s Project Manager Sophie Fuce during her presentation about this year’s Ride The Lights and the Lumidogs, which Sophie described as “barking, but brilliant”. Both are community based workshops so locals can have more interaction with the greatest free show on earth, the Illuminations.
LeftCoast’s newest member, volunteer envoy and BLAMbassador Victoria, discussed how volunteering for LeftCoast has given her real insights into the creative world.
Local creatives Garth Gratrix, Brendan Bunting and Adrian Pritchard discussed their recent, current and future projects.
Brendan of Dapper Art fame discussed his LeftCoast Express self-study funding to look into creative spaces with the vision of bringing the knowledge and learning back to Blackpool to inspire creative regeneration.
Gloop artist Adrian discussed his Future Popular commission which will see his Osmosis Machine take on a new form of community engagement with a call out to garden shed inventors for an exhibition entitled Lost Inventions, Fantastic Creations which aims to highlight how closely linked the science of invention is to art.
Speaking of local creatives, Aishley Docherty from Promenart discussed her joint venture; an exciting new pop up theatre coming to Blackpool this summer with the aim of engaging local young people to try performing arts. This is the second funded local creative performance activity for community engagement as Michael Trainor filled in for Blackpool Council’s Dance Engagement Officer, Sarah Hall, who had to Foxtrot off to the Commonwealth Games before she could tell us about Take The Floor,which should see the good people of Blackpool throwing shapes in the Tower Ballroom this winter.
Sergeant Steve Hodgkins from Blackpool Police gave a passionate talk around how LeftCoast Golden Section guest speakers have had a profound affecting on engaging him more in the arts.
We heard from different services from Blackpool Council with Peter Legg (Economic Development) discussing plans to open up creative studio space above Abingdon Street Market, and Caroline Primett (Arts Development Team) discussing the SOS (Save our Stories) initiative which will see more community engagement from the arts department around creative story telling designed to improve children’s literacy skills.
To wrap up the presentations we not only saw the return of the two Michaels to tell us about a new creative space at the Mount in Fleetwood, and a potential CIC to run a Bed and Breakfast space in the centre of town aimed at encouraging artists and cultural tourists to stay in the area. We also got to hear from Michael Trainor’s partner in crime at LeftCoast towers, fellow Creative Director Julia Turpin who reminded folk that Fleetwood’s flagship event, Tram Sunday, was this year welcoming a new arts dimension in the form of SpareParts, and is just around the corner.
The launch event was a huge success, and with people leaving with a free LeftCoast goodie bag you could feel the buzz in the air at Blackpool and Wyre’s successful Creative People and Places bid.
Every year the Grundy invites local Schoolchildren from across Blackpool and the Fylde coast to make new artworks for display in the gallery. This year, children from Hawes Side Academy and Woodlands School in Blackpool have worked with the Grundy’s Learning and Engagement Officer to create their own interpretation of a football club shirt. See the work alongside this year’s Open Exhibition. The Grundy is also showing the sculpture, The Game, (Part II) (2015) by Joe Fletcher Orr from the Grundy Art Gallery Collection.
Sharing Space: Architect JC Robinson through a diverse lens
Start date: 20 Jan 2024
End date: 30 Mar 2024
Location: The Grundy Art Gallery
art | community | exhibition
JC Robinson was Blackpool Borough’s architect in the 1920s-1940s. From schools to swimming baths, markets, memorial halls and more, JC Robinson is responsible for the design of some of the town’s most iconic buildings. Using painting, photography, sculpture, moving image, oral history and archival materials, this exhibition sees contemporary Blackpool-based practitioners and learning disabled adults returning to the site of these buildings to reveal and reinterpret their stories.
The Grundy Open
Start date: 20 Jan 2024
End date: 30 Mar 2024
Location: The Grundy
Showing upwards of 100 artworks in a range of artistic mediums from painting to photography and from sculpture to sound, the Grundy’s annual Open Exhibition provides a diverse and dynamic display of artworks from artists based on the Fylde Coast.