VictoriArt Road uses creativity to spark regeneration

A local community is calling on residents to get involved and help them deliver a project that will spark people’s curiosity in art and create civic pride in Torry.

Inspired by the recent Nuart festival, VictoriArt Road is the brain child of local residents and is backed by artists, activists and Aberdeen City Council community workers. In line with the Locality Plan for Torry, the scheme aims to brighten up Victoria Road and spark people’s curiosity in the local area by installing art and other creative pieces.

The project was boosted by £10,000 grant funding from Awards for All Scotland. The funds will be spent on commissioning local artists, materials and community engagement workshops.

The first stage of this project was to form a steering group made up of local residents. The group will ensure that VictoriArt is community led and reflects the needs and wants of people of all ages living and working in Torry.

On Friday (16 June) a hands-on learning session entitled ‘Street Art, Graffiti and Civic Engagement’ will take place with primary seven pupils from Walker Road School. They will work with representatives from Aberdeen City Council, local businesses and Aberdeen Inspired who are supplying 10 life size images that will be displayed on the external walls of the school and surrounding buildings. This project is part of the Outings Project spearheaded by Aberdeen Inspired where artist Julien de Casabianca and a number of pupils from Walker Road School ‘pasted up’ images that were reproduced from works of art being stored at the Treasure Hub. The aim is to make young people aware that they can influence the way their neighbourhood looks and feels and provide information about how they do so.

A week later, on Thursday 22 June, there will be a presentation entitled ‘From Painted Doors to Nuart’ at Torry Academy Library, 7 – 8.30pm. Local artist and creator of the Mood of Collapse blog John Reid will discuss the cultural shift Aberdeen is undertaking from Aberdeen Inspired’s city centre initiatives. The event is free and tickets are available from Eventbrite.

A community mapping walk will also take place on Sunday 25 June where the steering group will undertake an audit of Victoria Road. This will involve looking closely at the aesthetics of the area, taking pictures, and counting vacant shops. The resulting data will inform where art installations are placed in the coming months.

The next stage of the project is for the steering group to recruit the artists and organisations they would like to work with for the benefit of Torry. This phase of the project is expected to conclude by April 2018 when Nuart will return to the city for the second time.

Aberdeen City Council’s Communities, Housing and Infrastructure convener Councillor Yvonne Allan said: “This project is a great example of the different ways Aberdeen City Council is helping to regenerate local communities.

“The level of community involvement that has already taken place is extremely impressive and that looks set to grow with the three fantastic events scheduled over the coming week.

“I look forward to seeing the creative ideas that the community come up with. I’m sure this project will go a long way to reflecting the positive work being done in Torry and the great spirit amongst local residents.”

Adrian Watson, CEO of Aberdeen Inspired said: “We are thrilled to deliver both concepts to the city, both projects proved hugely successful with Nuart Aberdeen drawing a global audience to our city centre. We are delighted to see it inspiring local communities and being supported city-wide. Aberdeen Inspired is looking to develop both ventures to bring more colour and artistic brilliance to the city.”

Helen Greensmith, Torry resident, artist/designer and member of the VictoriArt Road steering group said: “I'm excited to be part of this project and I hope we can get lots of local members of the community involved.

“We were inspired by the Nuart festival earlier this year, and how it got people exploring the city with fresh eyes. We hope we can bring new life and colour to Victoria Road and get residents and visitors re-engaged with their surroundings.”

There are a number of opportunities available to those who are interested in taking part and influencing the project; including joining the steering group, or offering wall space for art works. If you would like to get involved please email cabbott@aberdeencity.gov.uk or visit www.victoriartroad.weebly.com.