Artist appointed to create public installation in Kirkstall

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artist Rebecca appleby kirkstall festival
Artist Rebecca Appleby at Kirkstall Festival in July

A Leeds artist has been selected to create a piece of public art for the local community in Kirkstall.

Specialising in sculptural ceramics, Rebecca Appleby will pay will pay homage to the local heritage and industrial landscape in the new art in the grounds of the Leisure Centre on Kirkstall Lane.

Rebecca says she is passionate about Kirkstall, having grown up in the area. Her work ranges from sculpture to collages and experimental landscapes and is an examination of the ever-present co-habitation and conflict between industry and nature.

Leeds arts organisation East Street Arts and Leeds City Council will now carry out further consultation with the community in Kirkstall to develop the installation. There are plans to work with schools and community groups in the area and the arts organisation attended Kirkstall Festival and Kirkstall Art Trail in July.

Rebecca Appleby said:

“Having been born in Leeds, with family living in and around the Kirkstall area, I feel privileged to in a position to create a piece of public art for the community. I am fascinated by industry and heritage and I have learned so much about the area that I didn’t know.

“We have recently held a series of public consultation events and I have been overwhelmed by the positive response to the ideas and designs so far.

“I’m thoroughly looking forward to the next stage of the process when the final design will be chosen and then created in the studio. We are also working with local schools and groups in the area as part of our engagement. I really appreciate the opportunity and support that East Street Arts and Leeds City Council have given me as an artist.”

Elaine Barrow, learning manager at East Street Arts said:

“As a Leeds-born person who has had various links with the Kirkstall area over the years, it is great to spend some time here consulting with the local community and I am keen to engage with as many people as possible for the duration of the project and leading up to the launch event next year.”

Councillors Hannah Bithell, John Illingworth and Fiona Venner (Labour, Kirkstall) welcomed the artwork in a statement:

“We all welcome the public engagement that is planned for this installation. It’s important that people are involved in what’s happening in their community and help shape what their local area is like. By giving as many people as possible the chance to share their view on what Kirkstall means to them, we think the result will be something the whole community can feel part of and proud of.

“Public art and installations are an important part of celebrating a city’s culture, so we are pleased that Kirkstall’s local heritage is being acknowledged and praised. Rebecca’s work will be a real stand out feature for Kirkstall and we can’t wait to see it unveiled.”

The project is part of East Street Arts’ ‘A City Less Grey‘ project and Leeds City Council’s Town and District Centre Scheme which has seen money allocated to improve town centres across Leeds.

The piece follows the ‘Hare of Harehills’, which was commissioned by East Street Arts, with funding from Leeds City Council, as part of the Neighbourhood Improvement Scheme. It was created by artist, Ian Kirkpatrick, alongside extensive engagement activity with schools in the Harehills area.

A City Less Grey, which recently won a Planning Award, also includes a series of artworks situated across the city centre which were commissioned with funding from LeedsBID.

For more information, or to share your views on the public art piece, contact elaine@esamail.org.uk.

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