After a year that felt like nothing and everything all at once, it’s nice to remind ourselves we did actually do some things.
A normal start to 2020 with an international message about human rights from Chileans in Bristol on the PRSC mural wall.
Mr Powers hung out with the crew in the PRSC office, while Mr Fortune got to work on the corridors, and in the china workshop, Scot had some fun with the Royals.
In February the PRSC got ready to run our brand new event the People’s Art Fair. Launching on Valentines Day under the title Modern Love, the People’s Art Fair brought together artists, musicians, photographers and some very glamorous nuns from the Order of Perpetual Indulgence in a warm hearted celebration of 21st century love.
Meanwhile on the croft, Jamaica Street basked in winter colours, Stokes Croft China got a little surreal, and our Street Survival project received some love. As February drew to a close, work began on the next mural wall.
As the PRSC crew planned how to make it through the lockdown, new sticker designs arrived and our brand new ‘public taps handout’ became both essential and obsolete overnight as the authorities told everyone to wash their hands, and also closed Bristol’s public toilets.
In other news the rain made incredible patterns on all the painted surfaces in our yard.
In April the PRSC teamed up with brothers Charlie and Phil (chefs and proprietors of Jamaica Street Stores) to form the Stokes Croft Food Project. Run entirely by volunteers and on a mission to reduce hunger and food poverty, SCFP produced approximately 250 fresh veggie meals every week in the spring, distributing some direct on the streets in the neighbourhood and ensuring the remainder reached those most in need by donating them to B.O.S.H and the National Food Service.
(Pictures below and above right by Colin Moody).
With most of the day-to-day PRSC business shut down, and as our work supporting homeless people continued, the china shop window became an info point for the ever changing local services available to rough sleepers and vulnerable people. In the workshop, Bev and Chris took inspiration from Martin Luther King to find light in the darkness, and Benoit collaborated with Dr John Lee of the University of Bristol to deliver this #MedicineontheWalls project on our outdoor gallery.
Taking advantage of the lockdown, PRSC planted some grass seeds on Turbo Island and tried to bring the site back to life, Chris got this great shot of the remains of Westmoreland House, and someone left us this hopeful message on the venue doors.
‘Home’ was the theme of The People’s Art Fair we had planned for May – it seemed fitting so we decided to run it anyway. Along with an online gallery of the work, we turned the china shop windows into a gallery and invited people to post art through the door, or to email it to us. We also set up art materials in our street survival session and took them with us on the Sunday soup run to invite members of the homeless community to take part if they wanted.
In May these subvertised posters appeared by the M32 declaring ‘Too Many Billboards, Not Enough Trees’, this avocado plant grew out of our compost heap, and Tony chopped up all our newly arrived print.
On the Outdoor Gallery ‘Apart Together, BS2 to BSQ’ was a #MedicineontheWalls collaboration between PRSC’s own Object… and Kenyan artist Msaleh (member of the BSQ crew). Featuring designs by both artists, the piece was painted simultaneously in both countries.
Bright summer colours infused the croft.
Inspired by this government’s generosity and concern towards hungry children, Bev created this plate.
We got a new tap in the Loovre, a new paint job in the china workshop, new tools and a new neighbour called Mickey. Then, because were on a roll, we launched a new mug celebrating Karl Marx on a ‘choose your own price’ basis.
In November we were visited by Orbitance who created these amazing 360 degree pictures of the PRSC HQ at the height of Stokes Croft China’s full pre-Christmas business.
Orbitance also shot the screenprint studio, which had a busy month in November with Benoit on a mission to create new hand decorated mug boxes.
In other china news Bev created this beautiful commemorative plate.
With furious china decorating going on in the studio, the rest of the PRSC was mainly painting and decorating. PRSC was lucky to recieve the help of several Bristol artists including PRSC regular volunteer Zamzam who (among other things) painted our cupboard in the Space to match our funky floor, and Miss Hazard who has been helping with the china shop. One of the biggest November jobs was a full redesign of the PRSC bar.
With everything going on, somehow those busy bees in the china workshop found time to release a new George Orwell mug. Meanwhile, getting ready for the People’s Art Fair: Winter Edition, Scruff and Benoit got creative in the screenprint room and made these colourful posters, and Kesdrawsfights dropped in with some art.
Back in the mists of time (February) when we launched the People’s Art Fair we had nearly 20 artists taking part. The People’s Art Fair: Winter Edition attracted over 40 artists, and featured more than 230 original artworks, while lockdown complications required the PRSC crew to get the whole show reproduced online as the rules governing cultural spaces were announced a week before opening night.
Every work of art had to be registered, photographed, created as a product online, hung in the exhibition, and reproduced in the online gallery. As always the final result was a collective effort between the PRSC crew, volunteers and exhibiting artists. Big shout out to Dan Petley, Fraisia, Cassidy Grace and Anibal, for going above and beyond in helping us to realise this incredible ambition.
Taking a walk around the exhibition was enough to know the effort was worth it.
Earlier this year PRSC teamed up with architecture students from UWE to start redesigning our building and help make it more accessible, functional and energy efficient. The students formed a group called Stokes Croft Creatives and in December they made this wonderful model of our site.
In the china shop things were getting festive, and we were having fun with social distancing.
And on the mural wall we invited everyone to share their 2020 lessons learned.