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Projects to focus on the art and soul of Wyre

The jaded image of a lonely, impoverished artist, stuck in a dingy garret, desperately seeking inspiration is about to get a 21st century reboot – thanks to LeftCoast and Wyre Council. Five Wyre-based artists are to take up residence in some of the borough’s more unlikely spaces – ranging from a motorway service station to a river bank.

The residencies, funded by LeftCoast and facilitated by Wyre Council, are to take place over the coming months with the artists escaping galleries, studios and their usual haunts to embed themselves in their chosen spaces.  They will be  creating new work in the run-up to a collaborative exhibition centred on the fascinating people, places and conversations of Wyre.

The artists were selected following a competitive application process open only to people based in the Wyre area. The selection panel had a tough decision to make, as many high quality proposals were submitted by artists keen to take part in this unique opportunity.

Fine artist Denise Keen-Junk will be based in Fleetwood Market. She will be getting to know the stall holders and learning about their daily lives and routine, plus speaking to visitors – whether they are day trippers or regulars. Based on these conversations, Denise will be creating a series of box sculptures that contain objects or illustrations to reflect the people she has met.

Sound artists Carlito Juanito and Rick Thompson will be exploring Stanah and the Wyre River Estuary, creating field recordings of the landscape that capture the environments hidden sounds. As part of their residency, Carlito and Rick are planning sound walks along the estuary to help the public expand their knowledge and appreciation of the location.

Photographer Henry Iddon will be out on the M6, at the edge of Wyre, at the Moto Service Station, Forton. The service station, which celebrates its 50th birthday this year, and was the second to open in the country. Henry will spen his time speaking to staff and travellers to find out about their journeys and destinations, before creating a series of photographic portraits of both the people and the location.

Jayne Simpson will be digging into the social history of Fleetwood through the people who have lived there and exploring the connections between the sea and the land that have been integral to its past. Based at Fleetwood Museum, Jayne will work with staff and visitors to find out about their experiences and get to know the collection and its hidden gems.

Alistair J Parker is setting out on a journey along the Preston to Wyre Railway with the help of the Poulton and Wyre Railway Trust. The original line opened in 1840 but closed to passengers in 1970 and Alistair is keen to engage with the Trust as he uncovers the varied locations and diverse landscape along the route, using film, sound and photography.

During the residencies there will be opportunities for the public to speak to the artists and engage in their projects in different ways. Following the residencies the artists will come together to create a collaborative exhibition later in the year where all of their work will be on display.

Michael Trainor, artistic director at LeftCoast, said: “Artist residencies are a great way of bringing people’s experiences and stories about a place to the surface so we’re really pleased to have been able to team up with Wyre Council to make this project possible. I am particularly fascinated to see what develops around Forton services as reaching that strange building as a child always signalled that we were on holiday.

“The diversity of the applications we received was brilliant and it is encouraging to see such enthusiasm for Wyre from artists based in the area.”

Councillor Lynne Bowen, Cabinet member with responsibility for arts at Wyre Council, added: “It is fantastic to be able to provide opportunities for Wyre artists and a platform for the local creative sector in some of our most beautiful and interesting spaces. At the same time, visitors will get to experience to these places being animated in creative and engaging ways.”

For more information about the Wyre artist residencies, visit www.leftcoast.org.uk/wyre-residencies-artist-network or call 01253 477973.

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