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Bringing art to the borough

Exciting new arts projects are going to be rolled out in Leytonstone, Leyton and Chingford after two innovative arts organisations were awarded commissions by Waltham Forest Council.



Studio3Arts and Wood Street Walls have secured Neighbourhood Arts Commissions, which will enable them to give residents across the borough a chance to explore their artistic sides through interactive projects.



Wood Street Walls will work with local artists in Chingford and Highams Park to develop a programme of activities that can be enjoyed by the whole community, while Studio3Arts will carry out a similar programme in Leyton and Leytonstone. Each Council commission is for two years and worth £10,000 per year.



Studio3Arts, a charity with a vision “to make outstanding art that is accessible, exciting and transformative”, is preparing to conduct an arts-based audit – asking questions like ‘who is creative in this place?’ and ‘how is creativity defined here?’. The organisation hopes that its questions will challenge the existing notion of who is an artist and who makes art – looking at creative professionals like bakers, nail technicians, gardeners and hairdressers as artists.



Community engagement will take the form of panel discussions, workshops and pop-ups in public spaces – and Studio3Arts aims to offer training and development for local groups and individuals to further their creative skills.



Liza Vallance, Artistic Director at Studio3Arts, said: “We’re really excited to start our work in Leyton and Leytonstone. Over the next two years we'll be undertaking a 'creativity audit' – finding out where, what, how and why creativity happens in these areas.  



“There'll be exhibitions in unusual spaces, the uncovering of 'hidden' artists and a real celebration of culture and creativity. We're raring to go.”



In Chingford, Wood Street Walls, which aims to create beautiful and accessible public art for the enjoyment of the community, will launch its two-year arts engagement project with a ‘paint jam’ event. This will involve the installation of removable plywood walls at an agreed location, on which members of the public and artists can paint.



The organisation plans to provide a rich arts programme involving local arts and dance groups whilst also offering residents the opportunity to try their hand at a wide range of activities. By running arts workshops and engaging local businesses interested in reaching new audiences through art, Wood Street Walls wants to help establish Chingford as an area of growth and vibrancy.



Mark Clack, co-founder of Wood Street Walls, said: “Over the next two years we will be working with local community groups and residents to erect more public art across Chingford. We're already working with a number of groups but there are lots of opportunities for others to get involved so we'd welcome people to get in touch.



“As well as public art we will be hosting varied workshops which we hope will reach a cross section of demographics and achieve our goal of making art accessible for all.”



Council Leader Chris Robbins said: “Arts and culture are at the heart of the work we are doing now and in the future to make Waltham Forest an even better place to live.



“As a Council we believe these are not just things that are nice to have, but are essential for bringing our communities together, raising aspirations and helping put our thriving arts and culture sector firmly on the map.”



For more information visit www.walthamforest.gov.uk/arts. Find out about Wood Street Walls at www.woodstreetwalls.co.uk and learn more about Studio3Arts at www.studio3arts.org.uk.

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