Art offers a ray of light in Stockton

AN ART collective’s bright idea will shine a positive light on the future for shoppers to Stockton town centre.

The Wild Vision Collective was formed by four artists, Claire Harrison, Beth Johnson, Nethanja De Leeuw-Kent and Mandy Dixon during the first lockdown.

Their latest installation ‘Light:Space’ will see windows in Wellington Square and ARC in Stockton, illuminated by works of art.

Matt Boxall, manager of Wellington Square, said: “People shopping for essentials or walking through the town centre, will be able to enjoy the colourful installation that will bring the windows to life.

“This is just another example of how we can maximise the experience for our customers while being involved with and supporting our local community.”

Artist Claire Harrison said that after the success of the group’s first exhibition  ‘Unlocked in Lockdown’ in December they were inspired to continue to bring  messages of hope to the people of Stockton.

“We submitted our idea for the illumination to ARC’s ‘Pizza and Pitches’ event and won funding to make our vision a reality.

“Our idea was to fill the windows of Wellington Square and ARC with artworks using light to brighten up the town centre and bring some positivity, especially during the dark days of the global pandemic.

“We selected 13 artists to take part in ‘Light:Space’ – an illuminated trail through the streets of Stockton. The work is very exciting and varied – with something for everyone to look at.”

One of the artists John Cutting turned to art as a ‘distraction’ to occupy his mind while suffering from Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder brought on by his time in the Army.

John says: “The PTSD has caused problems throughout my life then about six years ago I started to have nightmares and flashbacks and felt suicidal. I took up art and it pointed me in a different direction. PTSD is an anxiety condition and art stops me from ruminating on the memories.”

John is now taking a degree in art at York St John University.

His work ‘Faith in Light’ features a prosthetic limb representing a headless body and is based on Raphael’s Transfiguration which shows a child being held up to the light of Christ.

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