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.
2013 If these walls could talk
‘If these walls could talk …’ is a community development project with social justice and collective action at its core. In 2011, Bolton at Home's Neighbourhood Management East Team established three weekly women’s groups across Breightmet to address a lack of supportive spaces and networks for women. Poet, Louise Wallwein, was commissioned to run a number of taster sessions as part of a varied offer for the groups to try new things and something about creative writing just clicked. The concept of physically filling a house with their writing emerged from one group and quickly gained the support of all three. The team then worked together over six months to make this idea a reality.
The result is a gallery-standard installation that uses visual arts, creative writing, crafts and interactive audio recordings to compelling effect. Illustrator Paul Gent took the women’s writing and illustrations and transferred them directly onto the walls of the house. Sound artist Melanie Harris recording the women talking about their memories, feelings, hopes and fears. Textile artist Jen Gilmour worked with the women’s groups and Breightmet’s Naughty Knitters to incorporate messages into textile pieces, and Mark Haig installed motion activated sound systems and digital technology to enhance the audio-visual experience.
The key to the power of ‘If These Walls… ’ is the honesty and authenticity of the content . The stories of these women are seldom heard and rarely platformed. They challenge the ‘strivers vs scroungers’ rhetoric, reflect the whole person and explore the complexity of life.
Audio from the installation can be found at https://audioboom.com/if-these-walls