The event didn't quite go to plan.
The marquee hire didn't turn up at 7:30am on Briggate and were uncontactable. When we finally did get in touch, we'd missed the time slot for vehicular access on the pedestrian area of town. The brief for our project was to create two events - one outside the gallery, and the second inside. As a result of such a crucial let down, we couldn't fulfill that brief, and had to run the event in the children's educational area of Leeds Art Gallery.
Since the gallery is between shows at the moment, not many people came into the building. On top of that, the place we were working was quite hard to find. It was raining consistently throughout the day, and as a result, the shops, restaurants and other public spaces in which we tried to create some engagement outside the gallery were heaving with damp, pissed off people.
It was a frustrating day, but despite everything that was against us, we made the best of it.
What I found most difficult about this project was the system/hierarchy of roles. Myself and a friend were initially contacted to curate the project, with lead artist hired to run it. As our plans developed, we enlisted the help of more volunteers, yet the three of us founded the central team.
Despite someone else operating as lead artist, I ended up supplying the project with its essential creative direction. We decided on an instruction-based idea in order to create as much varied engagement as possible, and thus went ahead with origami. Individual origami creations were thus to come together in some way to create a larger, accumulative artwork - a participatory arts project. The origins of this idea came from an installation commission I received last summer for some festival artwork. Unfortunately, the commission was cut as the festival ran out of money, and so I supplied the idea as part of this Up The Stairs project.
Below is that original brief from last year:
As well as the project's concept, I also came up with the collective's name 'Up The Steps' - appropriate for a project aiming to encourage more young people into the gallery.
Yesterday's event was thus frustrating for me, because other people were taking credit for my idea. I really regretted providing another lead artist with my own experienced practice and concept (even if it did correlate well with the artist's own practice), and in the future I will be much more careful about sharing my ideas in this creative way. It was especially frustrating since the difference in amount of fee between the lead artist and myself was considerable.
We tied a net up and gradually throughout the day, the butterfly net began to build up as visualization of the developing level of participation. It looked really good.
I'm extremely disappointed that we were unable to adhere to the REcreative brief. It seemed that everything was against us - it was a difficult day, but overall, it was great - if exhaustingly problem-solving - , and I'm looking forward to our follow up event on Wednesday evening, 13th March