Ceramics and Architecture
Last week I attended ‘A Vision For Leith Walk’, which was an open forum organised by Greener Leith and Leith Open Space. I’m an interested party because I work just off Leith Walk, and like going out in Leith. The Walk itself is a really interesting street, there’s a vibrant and diverse range of shops on the ground floor with tenement flats above, along with a mix of larger shops, library, offices and some really juicy gap sites just crying out for redevelopment.
A description of the event and its outcomes can be found here
I went along with a bit of an agenda; I really love the painted sub-station which was organised and funded through Friends of Montgomery Street, near my flat. It’s a great wee project, and it got me thinking about street art along Leith Walk…
There is some fantastic street art in Leith; these two pieces are by Gaia and were I presume put up illegally
but these have been covered with crapgraf [tags, scribbles] so I had an idea…
This project [link to YouTube video] was sponsored by Red Stripe; Scottish street artist Spaceboy was sponsored to paint the shutters along the disused fish market and the whole thing was animated… must have taken ages. BUT don’t you think that a link between commerce and street artists would be fruitful, and legal?
I met Keith, who has started the Shutter Project on Leith Walk. He has a barber’s shop, and wants to raise money to get shop shutters all painted by local artists, therefore presenting a lively and beautiful; frontage even when the shops are closed, as there is a lively pub culture [ahem] in the evenings. He’s got a great idea, and he’s got no agenda other than to make Leith Walk a nicer place to be – and therefore cut some more hair, possibly.
I raised my hand at the beginning of the meeting and said I would like to talk about the topic of street art – four other people had other topics – the rest of the group then selected the topic which most interested them. I was really glad to meet people who were interested in talking about street art in a positive way, I thought first of all that no one would want to engage, or that street art was a taboo subject due to the illegality involved, but was pleased that it was a positive discussion with lots of different voices from residents, business owners and a councillor.
The meeting itself was interesting too, I’ve not been to a forum organised in this way, and it was a good way to tease ideas out of a group. By its nature, a self-selecting interest group like this is always going to be lively, and this format suited that really well, trying to reduce the speeches and increase the dialogue, whittling the discussions down to strong points with some consensus. A good description of the method is found here. My stripy arm is on the left of the photo.
Part of the point was to get likeminded people together to form links. There’s something to be done on Leith Walk – a well-curated programme fo street art, sponsored by local businesses and partly funded by the Council would be the ideal. There are local artists, there are blank walls, there are interested parties who would front a wee bit of cash for materials and planning permission…