"A Travelling Exhibition"
APS commissioned 40 creatives from the LGBTQIA+ and Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic artists to create a piece of original art to be transformed into a colouring book page. Both a travelling exhibition, and a mindful activity rolled into one.
Sarah Francis, Director of Aire Place Studios said:
“We have specifically opted to target these groups due to the higher rates of social isolation, mental health problems, and financial difficulties within these groups that are now being exacerbated by COVID-19. By offering payment for the work created, APS can offer financial support and promotion to those creatives amongst the hardest hit. In addition, we intend to offer paid contributing roles, such as graphic design, to members of these communities to ensure they lead and front the project. This gives further opportunities to vulnerable creatives who have lost work and opportunities during the pandemic, and allows us to showcase work in an innovative way that appeals to people who may not normally attend an exhibition opening.”
40 CREATIVES COMMISSIONED
The packs of four books have been distributed to community spaces and charities in Leeds, including the Old Fire Station in Gipton and Woodhouse Community Centre.
Rainbow Junction in Burley sent out the colouring books as a treat for Easter, along with food parcels.
“Colouring and creativity has such a positive impact on mental health through mindfulness, stress reduction, and reduced levels of anxiety. We chose colouring books because of their tangible form. When we view a lot of art digitally, we want people to still have that physical connection without having to enter the traditional gallery space”.
APS strives to challenge barriers within the traditional art world and we know that many creatives face financial, physical and mental barriers to exhibiting work and attending exhibitions. Our colouring book exhibition enables participation from home, challenges the norms around what ‘art’ is, and promotes social inclusion and connection. Furthermore, colouring and creativity has been demonstrated to have a positive impact on mental health through mindfulness, stress reduction, and reduced levels of anxiety- all of which are relevant for COVID-19.
These innovative travelling exhibitions offer benefits for the creatives who make art as well as inviting wider participation in the arts. This challenges the barriers surrounding exhibiting work and viewing exhibitions, and increases social interaction, community cohesion, and wellbeing for all involved. With the exhibition program being rescheduled and reshaped to increase participation and promote the exhibiting creatives more widely we anticipate an increased footfall for the eventual physical opening event at APS.