Major arts event in Briggate hailed a “great success”

Two young people re-imagine the city

Organisers of a controversial street arts event held in Leeds earlier this year have hit back at critics who labelled the happening a waste of money.

Billed as a vibrant re-imagining of the city, the event has been under occasional relentless fire for the last six months for not catering to the general public.

But NOW an evaluation carried out for the organisers by a team of leading street arts event evaluators has revealed it was in fact a GREAT SUCCESS.

The evaluation found that the event:

ENGAGED with a whopping audience of 20,000 diverse residents, many of them out shopping from hard-to-reach postcodes such as LS6, LS7 and LS8

SWELLED arts footfall and regeneration spend seven fold over three days at the event site in Lower Briggate

INCREASED the appetite for inclusive, edgy, quality art in the city by a stunning 78%

RAISED Leeds from 8th to 3rd in the European table of Cities with Regeneration Arts in Shopping Streets (Euro-CRASS)

BROUGHT participating local artists 82% further out of their comfort zone than they’d ever been before

SHOWED how art can transform a public space in a way that gives life to local sustainable development objectives (e.g. shopping)

“Language of the city”

“We’re naturally delighted with these findings,” said a spokesperson for the Leeds-based organisers. “It’s particularly pleasing that so many of those who engaged with the event feel it was a cultural ambush that has already slipped into the language of the city.”

Asked about future plans, the spokesperson said: “We know times are tight, especially for the arts, so we’re humbled to have been given free rein to carry out further outdoor collaborations of even riskier work – this time with multiple layers of interpretation (see panel for example) to help drive audience engagement.”

“It’s understandable that people worry about the value for money of an arts event like this. One way we plan to set their minds at rest is by improving the efficiency and effectiveness of our arts community partnership working and civic arts enterprise capacity building through the appointment of a chief executive, a project manager/coordinator, an assistant producer and two comms people – one strategic, the other hands-on.”

Positive feedback from “word cloud”

People who attended the event were surveyed for one word that would describe the event for them. The “word cloud” (on the right) shows the results, with the biggest words being the ones used most frequently.

As the organisers claim (with understandable pride), it’s a pretty positive picture overall, with “wiggly”, “green” and “inflatable” the three words that sprang most to the audience’s mind.

A spokesman at Leeds City Council said the event was a great response from the Leeds arts community to challenging times and was on target to bring immeasurable economic and reputational benefits to the city.

“While we’d like to stress that we had absolutely nothing to do with organising this event at all, we’d be happy to see it repeated next year – maybe next time with a display of twigs in the shop vitrine.”


About the leeds citizen

contributions to this blog welcome
This entry was posted in News and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Major arts event in Briggate hailed a “great success”

  1. Russ says:

    It’s not clear from this which arts event you are discussing. Was it Overworlds – Underworlds, or the event which had the giant inflatable alien on Briggate? It’s not actually mentioned, and the image posted is very misleading as the OW/UW shipwreck and the inflatable alien were not seen on Briggate at the same time, certainly not as the image suggests which is a poor photoshop attempt to marry the two.

  2. Euro-CRASS? Is that a clue?

  3. reviveleeds says:

    You forgot to mention the sustained impact of the project on the local arts community (do they talk about anything else?) and the noticeable change in public perceptions of the Arts Council and the major arts organisations of the city… Measurable outcomes, methinks!

    Laugh? I nearly cried.

  4. Phil says:

    “Street art event evaluators” ??

  5. Phil says:

    Dear Leeds Citizen, are you connected in any way to Leeds Initiative?

  6. Paul Thomas says:

    I realised it was a spoof when the word cloud was missing ‘sustainable’ and ‘diversity’. All public organisations are required by law to crow-bar these vacuous phrases into everything.

  7. B V says:

    Brilliant. You must be a fan of Twenty Twelve and The Thick Of It

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s