A not-for-profit creative studio in West Leeds has developed a series of colouring books to be distributed to local community organisations in Leeds and the
rest of the UK.
Aire Place Studios, which is based off Kirkstall Road, aims to connect people in marginalized communities during the pandemic.
The books explore themes of LGBTQIA+ and Black, Asian and Minoritised Ethnic identity and creativity. 40 artists in total were selected for a commission to create a piece of original art to be transformed into a colouring book page.
The packs of four books have been distributed to community spaces and charities in Leeds, including the Old Fire Station in Gipton and Woodhouse Community Centre.
Rainbow Junktion in Burley sent out the colouring books as a treat for Easter, along with food parcels.
As Aire Place Studios hasn’t yet been able to have in-person exhibitions and events in 2020, adaptations have had to be made to the pre-existing program.
In addition to providing the books for community groups, the books are available to buy from Aire Place Studios’ Big Cartel site.
Sarah Francis, Director of Aire Place Studios said:
“Colouring and creativity has such a positive impact on mental health through mindfulness, stress reduction, and reduced levels of anxiety. We chose colouring books because of their tangible form.
“When we view a lot of art digitally, we want people to still have that physical
connection without having to enter the traditional gallery space.
“LGBTQ+ and Black, Asian and Minoritised Ethnic communities face societal discrimintaion, and are among the most affected by the direct and indirect consequences of COVID-19. Unfortunately in 2020 we had to close many of our programmes aimed at supporting these communities.
“With this project we want to celebrate each other, and champion oppressed and marginalised groups through shared creativity.”
The new project has been a collaboration between Aire Place Studios and two project
leaders: Mollypukes for the LGBTQ+ colouring book and Bhakti Mistry for the Black, Asian and Minoritized Ethnic communities. This project has been funded by the National Lottery Community Fund.