The project, part funded by the sustainable communities’ pot, local councillor funding and via community crowdfunding, has drawn overwhelming support from local people, businesses and the council. The antiques quarter has become areal destination for the city, growing from 20 to 60 businesses over the past 5 years, with economic development that has seen estate agents advertising properties as ‘in the quarter’.The quarter group is adamant that their vision is one for all who live, work and play in the area and that as part of the Community Partnership for Abbeydale that they are committed to engagement with young people in an attempt to help alleviate current issues antisocial behaviour.
Hendrika Stephens, chair of the group and organiser of the Street Art day, was delighted at the response from locals and artists alike, who had volunteered their time and creative talents to the project. She explained that around 150 kids were involved in workshops on the day to include a lego workshop at the Heeley Baths Car Park following a litter pick of the area and 2 graffiti and street art workshops.
She said: “The kids loved the day and It’s great to see artists supporting a community that really needs to put kids on the agenda for enjoying and taking ownership (in a positive way) of their environment.”
She admitted that ‘although we know not everyone will love all the work that goes up, the last intention is to offend or upset anyone, but we can see that the community recognise that we are trying to really engage with our youth of the area and help kids from school age up to start to respect and value where they live by exploring it through art’. She added that ‘not everyone likes everything but everyone likes something and it may well mean some of us have to put up with some colour and shape that may not be to our taste but she is certain it will be worth it.’
As well as about 40 artworks and murals now brightening up the streets in the quarter the group are bringing together an art trail that will be a resource for local schools and visitors to use, as well as a graffiti fox trail and as a special feature the group have claimed the use of hoardings as a ‘Changing Walls I & II’ Gallery space. The idea being that work changes regularly and the spaces will encourage graffiti and street artists to show off their talents as well as involving schools and local youth groups to experiment with public art spaces.
After this successful event in the quarter perhaps it seems Sheffield’s vibrant arts scene and dedicated artists represent yet another unique selling point for the city.
For more information on the project follow the hash tags #AntiquesQuarter and #maybethisonesnotforyou and follow the website www.sheffieldantiquesquarter.co.uk