Fleetwood exhibition only Lancashire art project nominated for Creative Lives award

A Fleetwood exhibition has become the only art project in Lancashire to be nominated for a Creative Lives award.

LeftCoast’s artist in residence, Gillian Wood, worked with local residents throughout 2020 to curate the exhibition Inside Out, which first opened its doors a year later in June 2021.

The gallery, which was situated on the top floor of the Old Fleetwood Hospital, brought together the community through creativity and showcased what people living in the town had been producing behind closed doors during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The team has now been recognised by Creative Lives – a registered charity who “champion community and volunteer-led creative activity, and work to improve opportunities for everyone to be creative”.

Gillian Wood, said: “It’s fantastic for the artists because it’s recognition for their work.

“A lot of people haven’t ever exhibited before, so it’s quite a big thing to take those pieces of work from your home and put them up on the wall and be brave enough to show them to the wider public.

“But the artists really took that in their hands and have done amazing installations themselves. So for them, the Creative Lives Award would be fantastic because it highlights all of the fantastic work they have been doing.”

Inside Out has been nominated for the Creative Lives People’s Choice award. Lancashire residents can get behind their community by voting for the exhibition to win through the charity’s website.

The award itself recognises “resilience, imagination and innovation, predominantly carried out by volunteers, in a bid to stay creative during the Covid-19 pandemic”.

31 groups and projects from across the UK have also been nominated alongside Inside Out.

Artist Gillian Wood stood in front of knitted worry dolls as Fleetwood exhibition becomes only Lancashire art project nominated for Creative Lives award
Artist in residence Gillian Wood at Fleetwood's Inside Out exhibition (Picture: Claire Griffiths)

The exhibition emerged from Gillian Wood’s pandemic project Scrub Hub, which saw a group of local sewers make scrubs for NHS workers during the first lockdown.

The group discussed other work they’d been creating, such as paper flowers, colourful headdresses, needle felted creatures, knitted worry dolls, and pouring art. With funding from Arts Council England and the National Lottery Community Fund, the group were able to exhibit their work in five of the hospital wards, provided by the Fleetwood Trust.

Charley Wilkinson, CEO of Fleetwood Trust, said: “I am absolutely delighted to hear that the exhibition has been shortlisted for an award, the Trust has loved working with LeftCoast and the local artists on this project.”

LeftCoast’s Creative Engagement Manager, Laura Jamieson, worked closely with Gillian on the project.

She said: “I’m delighted that both Gillian and the local residents involved have been recognised by such an esteemed creative charity.

“To be the only Lancashire arts project nominated is incredible. It’s such a huge achievement for everyone involved, and we are all extremely proud of the team. We hope people will get behind their community and vote for Inside Out.”

Voting closes on 31 January 2022. Find out more about the award online.

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