As the lead artist for Artists Together – the artist development strand of work for St Helens Libraries and Arts NPO – I’ve been working on a programme of work during 2023 called Reside*
During 2023 St Helens has been the Liverpool City Region Borough of Culture, so for this creative year the programme was built around this thought:
“What if every artist who is RESIDEnt in St Helens was recognised as an artist-in-RESIDEnce for the year?”
We started the year with a pop up exhibition at The World of Glass that mapped the locations of artists around the borough and shared what they were planning on working on during the year. Following opportunities for artists to get help with funding, planning and commissions, opportunities to make work together, 1-2-1 feedback from curators and producers and chances to share ideas with each other, we have arrived at the end of the year and the production of We Reside* Here.
We Reside* Here is both a publication and exhibition that maps and showcases the work of over 60 artists in St Helens. The document features a map, illustrated by Cady Davies and with graphic design by Karen Hitchcock, that places each artist in the area of St Helens that they are based, showing our audience that artists aren’t rare beings, only to be found in the big cities of Liverpool and Manchester. These artists are our neighbours, the people you meet on the school run, the folks standing at the bus stop, and they are only a small proportion of the people who bring light, colour, stories and the joy of creativity into St Helens.
As well as mapping some of the artistic population, the We Reside* Here document provides guidance to artists. There are examples of how a number of artists are making their work, designed to provide inspiration and support to other artists seeking to develop. A list of organisations who support people’s creativity features, along with a breakdown of what the process of Reside* was during 2023, so that other artists can pick this up and make new work in the future.
The exhibition that accompanies We Reside* Here is installed at St Mary’s Market in the large event space from 25th November – 20th December. This features an installation of the map, with its cardboard-cut-out style illustrations and showcases the work of many of the 60+ artists, whilst signposting audiences to other works that exist in locations around the town.
Artists Together and We Reside* Here is supported by