Villagers enjoy unique step back in time as art takes over

Villagers woke up to a very unique art project which had everyone talking.

Tuesday, 14th May 2019, 16:55 pm
Artists Sally Southern (right) and Nicola Lynch (centre) with Sinead Burke (left) of Arts Council England.

The bus stops along Horden's Sunderland Road were transformed into works of art - for one day only.

Villagers and motorists in East Durham were stunned to see the shelters turned into a range of things, including a kitchen, living room and even a social club.

Volunteer James Ferguson puts his feet up while visitors look at the artwork.

The one-day pop-up art exhibition - If These Walls Could Talk - was a culmination of a year of work involving artists, Sally Southern and Nicola Lynch, who had been working with residents on community art projects.

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The pair had worked with villagers, mostly aged 55 and over, to create the pieces, which proved to be a massive talking point.

And, it wasn't just the bus shelters, the whole of Sunderland Road was brought to life for the day of art, including art activities, singing, impromptu performances, bingo and free refreshments.

Malcolm Fallows, project director of East Durham Creates, said they had hoped to have engaged around 5,000 people with the project and exceeded that.

Local singer Celia Bryce having a sing-a-long with residents at Bus Stop 1 'Social Club' during the pop-up art in Sunderland Road, Horden.

He said: "It was a year-long project so I think a lot of people were on board with it and knew it was going to happen.

"But, I think a lot of people just woke up to find Horden transformed."

He said there was a lot of confusion from people who didn't know what was going on and a lot of pride from everyone who had been involved with the project.

Malcolm said: "The idea was to engage people through art and it was a massive success in that respect."

There's no place like home.

He said a lot of the work was done by older people inspired by things they remember from the village and through that it sparked a lot of conversations between people of all ages about what Horden used to be like.

Malcolm said: "We chose Horden because it was clear a lot of people wanted to tell their stories.

"It was all about trying to engage people by bringing art to their attention and this has been a great example of art engagement."

East Durham Creates is a programme set up to try out new ways of getting more local people involved in something creative and there is still plenty more projects in the pipeline.

Sitting at Bus Stop 3 'Kitchen Table' are Paul and Imogen Watson of Horden.

To find out more visit www.eastdurhamcreates.co.uk or visit the group's Facebook page.

Part of the pop-up art in Horden, Bus Stop 5 'Lampshades' with volunteers Adam Richardson (left) and Paul Harrison.