The Dewsbury Creative Town Arts programme has officially announced its first commission. It will involve local artist, Saba Rifat.
What is the Dewsbury Creative Town Arts Programme?
The Dewsbury Creative Town Arts Programme is a three-year art programme which is part of Kirklees Council’s Blueprint initiative. Dewsbury’s Blueprint initiative is part of a bigger plan to revitalise the town centre. Heritage and art play a big part in Council plans.
Kirklees Council has funded the arts programme with £200,000. It is part of the plans to revitalise Dewsbury town. The programme will focus on six themes:
- Fabric of Place
- Playful Spaces
- Nurturing Creativity
- Young Innovators
- Creative Thinkers
- Reconnecting the Town.
Throughout the three years, Dewsbury town centre will be the canvas for both permanent and temporary public art pieces. The aim of the programme is to provide creative opportunities. It will encourage local businesses, community groups and Dewsbury residents to engage with local art.
What is the Vision of the Creative Town Arts Programme?
Part of the vision for the arts programme is to put art in public places. The aim is to engage the diverse communities within Dewsbury town. It aims to celebrate heritage, inspire creativity and make a positive impact on people’s experiences in the town centre.
What Will the Arts Programme Commission?
A big part of the Arts Programme’s aims is to engage with local artists and people through commissions. The programme will support a wide range of commissions but will focus on the following:
- Commissions that reveal and include the rich heritage of Dewsbury town, especially in textiles, and weave it into the town’s look to the future.
- The programme wants to provide opportunities for local emerging artists to develop and grow.
- To embed opportunities for young people. A chance to engage with arts and culture within the town.
- The programme seeks to encourage playfulness, fun, colour, physical activity and wellbeing in Dewsbury.
- It wants to creatively support wayfinding across the town. Wayfinding is about the way people orient and navigates themselves within a space; how people understand and experience a place. In this case Dewsbury town. It includes things like local signage, pathways, architecture, landmarks and more.
- The programme wants artists to play a key part in the creative regeneration of the town by being part of the design teams.
Who is the Arts Programme’s First Commission?
The council have announced that Saba Rifat will be the first commission of the programme. Saba Rifat is a local visual artist whose commission will feature in the underpass under Rishworth Road.
Geometric shapes in science, nature, and histroical Islamic patterns inspire Saba Rifat’s work. Saba’s work includes printmaking, 3D installations and murals. Saba’s commission will link this inspiration of shapes and patterns to the surface patterns found in the urban environment of Dewsbury town centre. The commission will encourage the public to find and create their own patterns.
Saba Rifat said “The Town centre is rich with a wide range of patterns which reflect our heritage and cultural diversity. It’s so important that these are incorporated into the underpass design so we can all appreciate the wonderful community we live in. I’m delighted to be involved with the Creative Town Arts programme and it’s a great honour that the underpass project will be the first commission to be completed as part of the programme.”
In addition, Councillor Peter McBride, Deputy Leader of the Council said: “I’m delighted we’re taking another step in our ambitious Blueprint plans to rejuvenate Dewsbury town centre. The Creative Arts Programme is a wonderful opportunity for local artists, creatives, the public and our businesses to get involved to bring artwork, colour and energy to public spaces.
“This is just the first commission of a longer term programme of permanent and temporary artworks, and I’m looking forward to seeing Saba’s finished piece in situ.”
— Saba rifat (@saba_rifat) December 8, 2020
What other organisations are involved?
As well as engaging with local artists and residents, the programme will work alongside the arts organisation, Beam. The partnership with Beam aims to enhance the experience of the town centre while also supporting the local creative industry and organisations.
Beam is an arts organisation that uses art as a transformative and inspiring process. Beam is a Yorkshire based organisation with over 30 years of experience delivering arts in community spaces, enhancing places and engaging with communities through art.
Kate Watson, Principal Consultant at Beam added “We’re thrilled to have Saba on board with the project and we’re looking forward to seeing the commission evolve over time. We’re asking the general public to be a part of the project by getting out and about and seeing what inspiring patterns can be found in the town centre to help create their own patterns – a great activity for families to do whilst getting some fresh air.”
For more information and to get involved you can visit Beam’s website. Share your images of the patterns you find around Dewsbury Town Centre on social media by using the hashtags #creativetown and #Dewsbury.