Community based art gallery could be the start of something special

One of the abiding memories for me as a Cultural Champion was taking part in the Giant Spectacular in 2012. The best part of the whole event for me was taking an event out of the city centre and engaging with people further afield. And the people of North Liverpool did us proud!

Which is why I was so thrilled on Tuesday to see the launch of an exhibition called “Facing the City” at the newly opened Art Gallery on Stanley Road, Bootle. The brainchild of artist Alice Lenkiewicz, The Art Gallery is smack-bang in the middle of the community and Alice has some big plans for the little place.

Displaying work by local artists, Alice also plans to develop The Art Gallery so that artists can use the space for workshops and to preview their work.

She’s also keen to engage with the local community and the first event is an open day on Tuesday 23 July from 12-5pm, so do pop along to catch the Facing the City exhibition and talk to Alice herself. Having been there, I can tell you what a warm and welcoming place it is.

Work by photographer Graham Smillie

Work by photographer Graham Smillie

The work up on the walls is quite extraordinary. Facing the City is made up of work by local and national artists showing their interpretations of people they know from past and present. Covering a whole range of characters, there are some fascinating pieces from artists like Jazamin Sinclair and photographers John Lloyd-Quayle, Michael Kirkham, Graham Smillie and Karl Raven and a particularly great picture “Maisie” by Adam Akins that I could have stared at all day long.

Every picture and every face has its own story to tell, such as Wesley Storey’s image of the poet Henry Graham and Andy Green’s magnificent portrait of April Ashley (who you must Google!). It’s not often you get a chance to stare into the face of another person and study what makes it so beautiful and so unique and these artists and photographers have captured life in all its glory here.

Alice is also planning to run an arts and crafts month in The Art Gallery during September, so keep an eye out and get involved. I’m keen to go back in a few months to see how this little gem of a place has developed.

You can find The Art Gallery at 30 Stanley Road, Bootle, L20 2AA and on Facebook at The Art Gallery page

We’ll be featuring some of these artists in more detail, so watch this space!

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