We made art happen together

Community art project ends with public exhibition in Sheffield Winter Garden

The team were delighted to see the finished canvasses of the art project EN commissioned through Sheffield art charity Ignite Imaginations in Sheffield Winter Garden on Thursday 16 December.

Four artists worked separately with five local community groups based in Sheffield which EN have previously supported, to produce five canvasses.  Each canvas is based on one of Efficiency North’s organisational values:  We enjoy, We’re aware, We give, We care, We make it happen together.

Groups who took part were Parson Cross Community Forum, working with artist Peter Griffiths, SAGE in Burngreave, working with artist Alex Blakey, and St Wilfrid’s Centre in Lowfield, working with artist Beatrice Lee Knowles.  Firvale Community Hub and The River Stewardship Company in Newhall both worked with artist Ali Bird.

The project delivered 40 hours of free creative activity to over 70 local people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds, providing an opportunity for them all to work with professional artists to develop their creative skills, explore what the themes mean to them as individuals and as a group, before translating this onto canvas together. Efficiency North also supported their wraparound needs for heating, sustenance and transport to enable them to take part in the sessions.

The canvases were exhibited in Sheffield’s Winter Garden for the enjoyment of the public from Monday 12 to Friday 16 December.

The team visited the exhibition as part of their December Staff Development Day, meeting some of the participants from St Wilfrid’s Centre, artist Beatrice Lee Knowles and members of the Ignite Imaginations team.

The canvases will remain on permanent display in Efficiency North’s Collaboration Works office on Carbrook Street.  The We Enjoy canvas painted by The River Stewardship Company with artist Ali Bird will be on display in Sheffield’s Weston Park museum at the end of 2023, on loan as part of an exhibition about people’s relationship with Sheffield’s rivers, and how they provide a sense of place and wellbeing.

Efficiency North Chief Executive Lee Parkinson said: “We were very excited to work on this unique art project with Ignite Imaginations, the artists and local groups.  We hope that everyone who took part enjoyed the experience, coming together to learn new skills and create a lasting artistic impression of their lives and communities.”

We give

St Wilfrid’s Centre with artist Beatrice Lee Knowles

Over 4 weeks 8 clients who attend the Skills for Living group took part in creating artworks that accumulated on the final canvas.

“This piece illustrates how clients at St Wifrid’s feel about what the centre gives them by way of welcome, warmth, support, time and companionship.  Each client’s experience is different, but St Wilfrid’s provides them with the safety net that is there to help them when they need it.” Beatrice Lee Knowles

We enjoy

River Stewardship Company with artist Ali Bird

“This piece is based on what people enjoy about the riverside environment. The participants experimented with gel printing, stencil printing and carbon transfer drawings to create layered images.  These were then collaged together with leaves stencil printed over to ‘knit’ the images together. Words and phrases generated by discussion were added in amongst the images.

11 trainees and staff from RSC worked together on this piece in one 3.5 hour session.  It was a great achievement to complete a piece in a relatively short time frame!” Ali Bird

We’re aware

Firvale Community Hub with artist Ali Bird

This piece was created by a group of 9 women at Firvale Community Hub over 4 workshops.

“For this piece, participants experimented with stencil printing and collage to create an image which they felt represented their awareness and appreciation of the community support Firvale Community Hub provides.  Colours and symbols were chosen to represent community, friendship and sisterhood; 3 of the keywords generated by the group.  Alongside this, the women created handmade sketchbooks with printed covers, some of which were also on display in the Winter Garden.” Ali Bird

We care

Sage Sheffield with artist Alex Blakely

The artwork was completed over 4 sessions.  One participant said, “I’ve never done this before. I didn’t realise how relaxing it could be.  It has given me a chance to switch off.  I think I’ve found a new hobby.”

“This artwork was created by participants at Sage Sheffield.  The work reflects all the different things they care about on an individual and local level such as local people, the allotment, Yorkshire landscapes, and then spreading outward to worldwide cares such as the environment, animals and our planet.” Alex Blakely

We make it happen together

Parson Cross Community Forum Art for Health with artist Peter Griffiths

The painting was produced by the 10 members of the group in 4 2-hour sessions at Parson Cross community centre.

“There was a lot of discussion about how the painting could be created and what it should contain.  The group decided to produce something that represented how the Forum helped and supported them and other groups.  In this painting the tree is the Forum around which things happen.  In the tree are stencils of the hands of the group, the hands of the people that are making things happen.  The people and the owl are the individuals who work and are supported by the centre.  Each of the elements in the painting has been created and painted by members of the group working together.  The hands were painted using stencils and the people from simple relief prints.” Peter Griffiths

Our thanks to everyone who took part.

The Author

Written by Efficiency North

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