What is Percent for Art?
Our Percent for Art team comprises of four arts officers who are based in our Community Investment Team and work across all areas of Bolton. Our arts officers work with residents, community groups, partners and other community stakeholders to develop socially engaged arts projects that help to improve our communities and benefit customers.
We commission appropriate artists or arts organisations, to work with the local community, and we manage the project from start to finish.
The Percent for Art service actively encourages individuals and community groups to get involved in schemes that can offer creative solutions to neighbourhood issues.
Ideas for arts projects can come from our neighbourhood teams and they will focus on specific neighbourhood priorities or be developed through conversations with community groups, partner organisations or other community stakeholders. Sometimes local arts projects are developed through wider Greater Manchester, regional or national networks or funding.
Our service also offers advice and guidance to our partners with regard to developing arts projects involving other social housing customers across Bolton. We have also been commissioned by partners to project manage a number of community arts and public / environmental art projects in Bolton.
Projects can be in any medium including visual arts, performance, music, crafts, digital art and film. They can take the form of arts based consultation, skills and confidence building projects, arts in health & wellbeing work, festivals and celebratory arts, as well as streetscaping and environmental arts projects designed to enhance the physical environment.
2009 Breightmet Photographer in Residence
In November 2009 Neighbourhood Management Team and Percent for Art Bolton East commissioned a six months Photographer in Residence project, to explore and challenge the way in which Breightmet was seen from both within and outside the neighbourhood. Photographer Les Monaghan spent two days a week in and around the Breightmet community, engaging with local residents and capturing images that reflected life, work and play in the neighbourhood.
Les worked with the five primary schools and secondary school that serve Breightmet, leading workshops in each school with children that drew on the personalities, imagination and aspirations of the schoolchildren. Around 200 'passports' were produced during these workshops: Les created a passport office scenario where ‘Great Breightmet’ was an independent country and each child had to produce their own ‘personlised’ passport. The children contributed ideas about what things were important to them rather than what would normally be considered important to the authorities.
Inspired by children during the ‘Passports’ photography workshops, Les wanted to explore how the environment shapes life chances in Breightmet. Fathers and children were invited along to the school's weekly Family Learning Session at Bolton St Catherine’s Academy (primary school) and a specific series of photographs were staged showing local dads with their children seated behind a school desk. At the moment the photograph is taken, the children are being asked ‘What do you want to be when you are older?’ and the fathers are asked to recollect what they wanted to be when they were the age of their child.
The images document the aspirations of children compared to the realities of life, transporting the viewer back to a school environment where they reflect on their own childhood aspirations and subsequent achievements. The viewer can also contemplate family relationships portrayed through the body language and resemblances of the parent and child in each image.
Photographs produced during the residence were exhibited as ‘photobreightmet’ at Bolton Museum & Art Gallery from 19th February to 23rd April 2011. The exhibition included a wide selection of the images together with an interactive magnetic wall of images for the public to assemble their own personal view of Breightmet. A special Private View evening was held for Breightmet residents that had been photographed as part of the project, and a series of workshops ran alongside the exhibition.
Local residents were also invited to take part in discussions with the Museum Collections Manager, the Neighbourhood Management Team and the photographer to select a number of representative images of Breightmet, and these have now been deposited in the permanent collections of the Bolton Museum and Art Gallery.
Almost 100 visitors to the Museum & Art Gallery were surveyed over 10 days during the exhibition. Here is just a very small selection of comments received:
- "I used to teach in Breightmet years ago and what surprised me was that children are still using their imagination just like we did at that age, ie., how a majority of the children wanted to be in the Army or firefighters etc"
- I learned that "Breightmet is very family based, also it can be beautiful when caught in the right place. The children have a fantastic imagination"
- " Suggest it to become permanent and take it nationwide" and "Do it again and roll it out and differentiate with other areas"
- "It's a really nice exhibition and I really enjoyed it"
- " It's representative of everyday life, everybody somewhere has a connection with what is happening"