Sydney The Art House CEO, decided that she wanted to do something hopeful and optimistic that would benefit our immediate community (staff, studio holders, members) as well as our wider community (visitors, the general public who pass the building) - encouraging people to be forward-looking at a challenging time.
It started as a simple desire to send a message to the people of Wakefield now, with the hope that by the time the sunflowers bloom we will be welcoming people back into The Art House. Since then Ellie Way has supported the project by painting our 'Together' mural, facing out onto Mulberry Way from the Gallery and local resident Nick Cockayne has partnered with us to distribute sunflower seeds to people across Wakefield in the hopes that hundreds of sunflowers may be on display in people's front gardens etc. over the coming weeks and months - spreading that a little bit of joy, hope and optimising as widely as possible. We also have a Facebook page set up to collate stories from people taking part and to allow people who are not able to actively able to participate, either because of covid-19 or otherwise, to get involved in other ways.
For us this project is a natural extension of the kind of work we were doing pre-lockdown but it's still early to fully understand what it's teaching us and how it will affect what we do in the future. We certainly hope that it's another step towards The Art House feeling like a safe, friendly and welcoming space for everyone to enjoy. Arts and cultural institutions can be perceived as alienating to so many people and we are committed to breaking down those barriers and forming a meaningful bond with our community.