Nine artists from St Helens received Prototype Project commissions from Heart of Glass as part of Round Three. Building on St.Helens history of innovation, this opportunity offers artists, communities and creatives from the borough to propose arts projects that are new, unique and experimental.
A total of £7,500 was allocated to support four R&D projects (up to £500) and three Prototype Projects (up to £2,000). The ideas for this round include creating a new glass artwork, exploring the use of moss graffiti and bringing the iconic Beecham’s building back to life through a sound installation & performance, combined with a tour. We have supported 26 projects by local artists and communities to date.
Debbie Chan, Prototype Projects Producer for Heart of Glass, said: “We received commission requests totaling more than £26,000, which meant competition was high and our panel had some very difficult decisions to make.”
The decision-making panel (which changes each round) included: Cath Shea (Arts Development Manager, St Helens Council), Beverly Jones and Gill Mather, successful awardees from Round One (The Cowley Singers) and socially engaged artist Jeni McConnell (external guest).
Prototype Projects Rouns Three will be supporting artists working on the following projects:
A Guinea A Box
Ian will create a performance installation called A Guinea A Box for Heritage Weekend that will bring the Beecham’s building back to life, through the stories and memories of those who once worked there.
On Saturday 12th September, the doors to the Beecham’s clock tower building opened to the public offering them chance to travel back in time. Visitors encountered sound pieces, video projection and performers recounting the history of the building and early years of the Beecham’s company.
American Style Off-hand Venetian Glassmaking
Glass artist Sarah Cable will attend the International Glass Festival & British Glass Biennale in Stourbridge to participate in a glassblowing masterclass led by American glass artist Dante Marioni - a master of Venetian glass making techniques; a style of glass blowing that differs greatly from the English style.
22 Dragons: Furniture Upcycling with Visually Impaired People
Paula & Piotr Pietrzak, Passsoul Studio
Working closely with a group of blind and visually impaired residents from Newton-le-Willows, artists Paula & Piotr Pietrzak will deliver a series of workshops to allow participants to develop self confidence, learn decorative skills and gain an appetite for artistic exploration and experimentation.
Working collaboratively to upcycle various pieces of wooden furniture their talents and abilities will be celebrated as part of an exhibition in St Helens, with the aim to raise awareness of the barriers faced by those with visual impairments.
This Town is… [R&D]
John Guy & Chris McBirnie
Two emerging local artists, John Guy and Chris McBirnie will examine and challenge the zeitgeist of public opinion towards St Helens high street, as well as examining their perception of public art as an effective tool for change. Based on their research findings, the artists will create and test an artwork, using an empty shop front window in St Helens as it’s canvas, concluding with new ideas for future public art projects.
St Helens, Tokyo, Return [R&D]
Artist Joan Birkett will embark on a period of research, where she will document and explore the possibility of collaborative art projects between St Helens, UK and Tokyo, Japan. Due to strong family connections, Japanese art and culture has greatly influenced her art practice and this will be an opportunity to visit Tokyo. Joan will meet face to face with contemporary artists and networks, starting new dialogues and conversations to see what ideas & projects could be developed in the future.
Eco Graffiti [R&D]
Artist Jack Knowles will test and explore the possibilities of using moss as a medium for his art practice. The idea of making living, breathing, eco-friendly graffiti in public spaces across St Helens will be the focus of his research. In July, Heart of Glass sent him to UpFest, Europe’s largest, free, graffiti and street art festival to help inspire and kick start his project. With the support of a mentor, he will develop a better understanding of contemporary dance with the aim to develop a future project that effectively combines eco graffiti with contemporary performance.
I’m Not All There
Lynn Gerrard [R&D]
Writer, Lynn Gerrard will write and develop a new script called I'm Not All There based on true stories collected from people with mental illness, including her own experiences. Over the next three months, she will get mentoring and guidance from artist, poet & playwright Louise Wallwein who will offer her professional guidance, advice and support towards improving her script before it is produced and placed before an audience. Lynn’s script will combine comedy and dark humour with the realities of mental health.