52 Weeks of Art

A major arts initiative lasting a full calendar year and incorporating a while host of artistic exhibitions, events and other elements. The concept was to create a consistent flow are artistic activities allowing people to engage directly with art in diverse and unusual ways.

52 weeks of art was created in 2012-13

See below archive of original project blog entries:

Arts Den

Expressions of interest are sought from artists for participation in an unique commissioning event during this year’s Lichfield Festival. The Arts Den, which will be loosely based upon the TV programme, “Dragons Den”, will see short listed artists invited to give a brief presentation of their artwork to a small panel of commissioning representatives.
Artists will be invited to give a presentation / overview of their working practice, including presenting an original example of their artwork and answer questions from the commissioning panel with regards a work that they would like to produce. This will last no more than ten to fifteen minutes. At the end of the interviewing process the commissioning panel will present a £1000.00 commission to the selected artist who will be commissioned to produce an original artwork relating to their presentation over the next 12 months, which will be unveiled and exhibited at the 2011 Festival.. The event will take place in front of a small audience at the Garrick Theatre in the afternoon of Saturday 17th July.
The project is being organized as part of the development of a new Arts Foundation for Lichfield and District. The commissioned artwork will be owned by the new arts foundation and become a part of its new contemporary art collection for the city of Lichfield.
Artists from all backgrounds may enter. This is an excellent opportunity for both recent graduates and established artists to propose an artwork they wish to produce and have it commissioned.
Artists should send a brief outline about their artwork, along with no more than 6 images of present work and a CV (preferably as jpeg and PDF format) by the 18th June. Selected artists will be notified the week after and invited to the event on the 17th July.

Performance Art Day

The 30th October will see the first ever Performance Art Day in Lichfield. The event, which is free all day, will feature a number of happenings, performances and workshop opportunities around the city from 10 in the morning until the evening. The event will finish with a stunning free light show on the front of Lichfield Cathedral.

Performance Art Day will be centred around a number of free drop in performance art workshops at the Guildhall, between 10am until 2pm, featuring poetry, sound composition and story telling workshops. From 1.30pm – 3pm there will be an open art forum for people to come and discuss the activities of Lichfield’s new Arts Foundation. Then from 3pm there will be an hour of free performance and story telling featuring local people, students and performance artists.

Also on the day watch out around the city for spontaneous performances popping up and strange happenings taking place. Not everything is as it may seem – indeed you may encounter David Garrick asking you for directions!!

The event is delighted to include acclaimed storyteller Andy Hawkins, a professional and drama practitioner performing all over the United Kingdom. Over two full days he will work with young people developing skills in both storytelling and performance work using Litchfield as a source of inspiration, to create unique stories which weave the idea of people, place and landscape into crafted performance work.

Further to this well know Storyteller Chris Lowe will be spending time around the city centre trying to discover – “all things Garrick”.

“Performance Art Day is a perfect half term Saturday free fun event for all ages. The workshops are designed to give people a taste of differentperformance activities and to involve people in developing stories and memories of the city, as well as providing some alternative free entertainment and opportunities for young performers. Perhaps in addition members of the public who have performance skills will take will take it on themselves to join in the spirit of spontaneous performance and sing a song or recite a poem, or come to a workshop and develop a new skill.” Peter Walker, 52 Weeks of Art

The event will end with a stunning free light show on the front of the Cathedral. The projection artwork created by Andy McKeown will feature a kaleidoscopic light display of the Cathedrals stained glass windows. The projection which will begin at dusk is one of a number of large light shows being carried out in the city.

“We are delighted to be working with Peter Walker on this project. The West Front of the Cathedral is dramatic in daylight, in its own right. It will be exciting to see how dramatic it looks in the darkness, when images based around the Cathedral’s window are projected onto it in the darkness’. Canon Pete Wilcox


Peter Walker worked with around 50 students from Netherstowe High School in order to help them to learn more about the processes and stages of developing public art and in order that they might make their own large sculptures. During a 3-day project around 10 large-scale cardboard sculptures were produced. The students learnt about how to make small models and then how to make these into big sculptural works. They were designing these works to help inspire a sculpture to be displayed at their school later this year which Peter is currently working on in his studio.

Life the Universe and Darwin

During the past few months hundreds of local residents have been working with artists as part of a major art project in the city, and on the 21st August the results of some of that work will be displayed. The free exhibition runs from 11am – 6pm.

‘The Life the Universe and Darwin’ exhibition, which is on show for one day only brings together the work of four nationally recognized artists, and the work of Lichfield residents.

The exhibition, which also gives free entry to Darwin House on Beacon St for the day, is a fantastic opportunity to engage with and enjoy a wide range of artwork, which has responded to the life, and work of Erasmus Darwin. The exhibition is centred on its key exhibit – ‘Inventions of the Mind’ by Kirsty E Smith, who as well as being resident at the Museum during July / August, delivering community art workshops, has also installed a collection of her nationally acclaimed sculptures in the museum for a month long exhibition. She has worked with around 80 individuals whose work will also be displayed.

Also on show on the day will be the work of over 300 students from the Friary School, who worked alongside artist Andy McKeown in the development of animations relating to Darwin’s sketches in his commonplace book, which bring to life his many inventions and discoveries. The result of these will be projected on the 21st within the house.

Artist Rebecca Parker worked with would be photographers in the study of lighting and editing techniques. As a result a document of their studies will be displayed alongside two original artwork she created during the project, which will be seen for the first time on the 21st.

Also on display will be a video and sound work by acclaimed sound artist David Harper, who worked with around 40 students from Netherstowe High School in the production of a piece centred around alternative ways of viewing nature through observation – designed to replicate the scientific approach of Darwin himself.

The event will also see live music provided in the gardens, with acoustic guitar in the morning and string duet from 3pm, alongside a free opportunity for local poets to recite their works between 1-3pm.

Poet Stewart Derry will also be around on the day conducting poetry workshops with a difference in the Inventions room, with the results of these being performed at the end of the day. Refreshments will also be available throughout the afternoon.

“This is a exciting exhibition bringing together the work of professional artists and the community. All of the artists in the project are of the highest level and their time and dedication to the project has been fantastic. Come along during the day to view the work produced and also see inside the house of this great former resident of the city’ Peter Walker Project Coordinator “”.

This is the first of a number of free art activities during late summer and early autumn in the city. On October 9th the return of the Big Draw will see free art activities on the streets including drawing with light, and Lichopoly.

There is also a stunning exhibition by Kate Tilley at the Johnson Birthplace Museum beginning 9th September, followed by a community exhibition in October of works developed with her at Netherstowe High School. The exhibition also see David Harper install soundwork from last year Son et Lumiere in the house for visitors to hear again.

There are also plans for ‘Performance Art Day’ on the 30th October and also on that day a fantastic spectacle when the front of the Cathedral will be lit up by a giant Kaleidoscope.

Hundreds of origami swans will be seen in Lichfield later in the year, following a mammoth effort by artist Celia Houghton.

Celia is one of the cities most enduring artists, who is at the forefront of delivering access to the arts through her role as Lichfield District Councils Arts Officer. She is however also an artist in her own right, and as part of a major community arts project funded by Tesco, developed a fantastic project to young budding artists to inspire them to embrace creative thinking.

Tony Fletcher (Tesco Corporate Affairs Manager) said “We are delighted with the outcome of Celia’s latest workshop event. The response of the Children, schools and local community together with the commitment of the artists’ has been overwhelming. We look forward to seeing the results of all of the projects in due course”

During June and July Celia visited 6 local primary schools, including St James Primary. Longdon, St Josephs, Chadsmead Primary, Charnwood Primary, Lichfield Willows Primary, and Greysbrooke Primary, Shenstone and offered an insight into one of Lichfield’s most significant figures – Anna Seward – ‘The Swan Of Lichfield’.

As part of the workshops children were invited to follow Stewards footpath and write their own poetic verse, and then convert their poem into a beautiful tribute in the shape of an Origami Swan. In total 545 children participated in the project, which also saw Celia introduce the children to Dr Johnson, asking them to create their own word and definition for a children’s dictionary for the city, which will be on show soon.

The project and exhibition are one of a number of art based workshops projects and exhibitions in the city over the next 4 months of art which have been funded by Tesco. The Origami Swans will form the centre of a much larger collection, which will be displayed in Lichfield soon. The project will also see further art activities about Seward carried out, and other tributes to the ‘Swan of Lichfield’ produced as a result of community involvement.

Peter Walker Project Coordinator “At the centre of the art projects we are running, is the objective to get people involved in the arts. Art is far more than just drawing a picture of something you see, and by involving children in creating art we are introducing them to a plethora of imaginative ways to look at the world. In Celia we have a perfect artists, skilled in opening the eyes of children to the possibilities of art, and I am delighted that her commitment has resulting in such beautiful results”.

A collection of 26 large scale artworks has been seen around the city over the past month. The artworks produced by artists from around Lichfield and which have a Lichfield theme have adorned the facades of numerous buildings through the city centre.

Come and encounter Kirsty E Smith’s intruiging mixed media sculptures displayed within this beautiful Georgian setting.
Since graduating with a first class honours degree in 2006, this prize-winning artist has exhibited throughout the UK. In 2009 she was awarded Arts Council funding to stage solo shows in London and the Midlands. Later this year Blink UnBlink, her two person show with fellow Midlands based artist Olwen Holland, will be part of the prestigious Liverpool Biennial.

For Inventions of the Mind, the artist has placed five of her otherworldly sculptures alongside the 18th century artefacts and furnishings of the Erasmus Darwin House.
Erasmus Darwin, Charles Darwin’s grandfather, is recognised as one of the most influential polymaths of his time. He was the linchpin of the Lunar Society and had wide ranging interests which included: Medicine, botany, engineering and natural history. He also had his own thoughts on evolution.
Like Darwin, Smith is a free thinker who is happy to draw inspiration from all facets of life. Her sculptures are made from surprising combinations of textiles, wood, metal and obscure fragments of vintage machinery. Each piece is completely unique, some having quite surreal qualities.
During the period of the exhibition Kirsty E Smith will be running several sculpture and textile workshops with local groups. The art produced in these sessions will be part of the 52 Weeks of Art community exhibition at The Erasmus Darwin House on 21st August.
The exhibition and workshops have been made possible thanks to funding from Tesco PLC.
More information about Kirsty E Smith at www.frillipmoolog.co.uk
For further information or images contact Kirsty E Smith on
01543 257609, mobile 0773 995 9951 or e mail kirsty@frillipmoolog.co.uk

Erasmus Darwin House, Beacon Street,
Lichfield, WS13 7AD

31st July – 23rd Aug 2010
Tuesday to Sunday: 11 to 5pm last admission 4.15pm

Admission: £3.00 adult, £2.00 Concessions
Children £1.00, Family £6.00

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