Unlocked in Lockdown

AN EXCITING art project born out of 2020’s first lockdown will finally be able to open its doors to the public in December.

The Wild Vision Collective was formed by four artists who wanted to keep art alive during the pandemic, when so many cultural events and projects were stalled.

Over Zoom they talked about their hopes of encouraging people to use the time to rediscover or unlock their artistic talents.

Now that vision is a reality, in the form of ‘Unlocked in Lockdown’ an exhibition in the group’s new gallery – right at the heart of the town’s busiest throughfare in Stockton’s Wellington Square.

Claire Harrison explained: “I got together with fellow artists Beth Johnson (textiles); Nethanja De Leeuw-Kent (mixed media, textiles) and Mandy Dixon (print-making) with the aim of celebrating the power of art as a form of expression, communication and healing – especially in these difficult times.

“We want to bring people together and to use our skills to deliver community projects, exhibitions, workshops and mentoring – to ignite a spark of hope for the people of Teesside.

“Some have turned to art as therapy and as a way of coping with boredom and anxiety. The exhibition ‘Unlocked in Lockdown’ aims to capture the experience of making art during a global pandemic and to share those stories.”

Marketing manager of Wellington Square shopping centre, Chantal Taylor, said: “We thought this was a great community initiative to be involved in.

“It gives the collective the chance to show their own work, along with submissions from the public, many of whom will not have had the chance to exhibit their work before.

“People will also be able to visit the exhibition, buy unique works of art and find their own artistic side by taking part in socially-distanced or online workshops.”

The exhibition runs Tuesdays to Saturdays from December 8 from 10am to 4pm with bookable visits.

Four workshops will be held on Sundays from December 6 with the first Life Drawing already fully booked. Other workshops will include fine art embroidery, print making and paper making.

There are a few 30 minute slots left for private viewings on Saturday, December 5 when groups of up to six can get a sneak preview of the ambitious project.

Claire explained: “All of the necessary precautions will be taken, we have PPE and of course everything is sanitised

“For those having to isolate we are also bringing Unlocked in Lockdown alive on our social media channels with interviews with artists and updates. All of our visits and workshops are bookable on Eventbrite.”

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