UK Wide Tour brings movies, drag queens, panto and more.
The Parking Lot Social Springtime Drive-in festival rolls into Liverpool this April and we’re giving away tickets to the unmissable event.
Taking place from 16-18 April at John Lennon Airport, The Parking Lot Social has something for everyone, with a selection of classic drive-in movies, live entertainment, drive-time drag, panto performances and more.
Guaranteed to entertain the whole family, we have five tickets (one ticket is for one carload) up for grabs for the Social Kids event on Saturday 17 April. Get the family together and park up to enjoy a host of fun, with everything from live quizzes, Car-a-oke and even a parent v kid silent disco.
To be in a chance of winning one of these fantastic family experiences, simply head over to either our Twitter or Instagram to find out how to enter.
Competition closes at midday on 1 April. Winners will be contacted via social media shortly afterwards.
Liverpool is widely regarded as a creative hub not only within theatres, music venues and art galleries, but also on the streets. Make your walk through Liverpool a little more interesting by trying to find some of the best pieces of street art Liverpool has to offer.
Here’s a roundup of our 9 top pieces of street art and where to find them.
1 – This piece of art can be found just off London Road, at the front of a street food restaurant Sketch Bar Kitchen. The vibrancy of the colours combined with the recognisable skyline certainly make it eye catching. It is one of many pieces of art around the city created by Liverpool artist John Culshaw, whose work appears more than once on this list.
2 – Mexican restaurant, La Parilla, had this mural painted in 2018, giving you more than enough reason to visit. Bright colours and a cheery characters brighten this part of the street. The artwork can be found on the side of their restaurant which sits on Bold Street.
3 – This portrait of Lizzie Christian, the infamous flower, fruit and veg seller, hangs above the spot she would sell her goods outside Clayton Square. Many locals still remember the local legend who was a prominent figure in the city for more than 60 years.
4 – The Anfield Wrap commissioned Akse, a French graffiti artist, to create this huge piece of art near on Sybil Road, Anfield in recognition of the important cause ‘Fans Supporting Foodbanks’. The inspirational piece shows Trent Alexander-Arnold, “a normal lad from Liverpool whose dream has just come true”, to inspire the younger generation.
5 – This portrait found at the bottom of Fleet Street was created by artist Danny O’Connor. The vibrant colours draw your attention to his work on an otherwise normal street. Danny was born in Liverpool and graduated from Liverpool John Moores University with a degree in Graphic Arts.
6 – Zem Clarke is the creator of this mural of Toxteth-born Nikita Parris, a professional football player. With bright colours and a huge canvas, this portrait stands tall over London Road after being commissioned by Twitter x Women’s World Cup Campaign in 2019.
7 – Here we have another one of John Culshaw’s pieces of art in the form of Liverpool’s manager, Jurgen Klopp. You can find this one on Houlding Street, just round the corner from Anfield stadium.
8 – Graphic artist Neil Keating’s project ‘Love Thy Neighbour’ can be seen throughout Liverpool and Manchester. The quirky art fits into the atmosphere of Liverpool’s Bold Street and this piece can be found in Ropewalks Square.
9 – The final piece of work on our list comes from Contrast Mural Festival, who are responsible for creating work around Liverpool to encourage people to explore the city. They have facilitated the creation of over 200 murals since their inception in 2018 and have successfully brightened up areas of Liverpool with art like this.
It’s been over a year since the Covid-19 pandemic began and the handling and effects of the pandemic will likely be studied and debated indefinitely. As the tides appear to be turning, I sat down with Liz Barker, co-founder of the March for the Arts collective, to discuss what the pandemic has meant for them.
The March for the Arts was set up in June in response to the effects of lockdown measures on the arts industry. Liz, Becky Webb and Gemma Dunne sat in a zoom meeting for a protest against the lack of funding for the arts throughout Covid-19. All three volunteered as organisers and thus began the March for the Arts collective.
However, just as they began to organise the march, the government announced their Cultural Recovery Fund which put the physical protest on hold whilst they worked out what this meant for the industry.
This didn’t, on the other hand, stop them from marching forward with their online campaign; emphasising the importance of the arts. A key, underpinning statistic for their demand for ‘fair funding for all’ was highlighted in the government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) report, published in February 2020. It stated that the arts industry brings £111 billion into the UK economy; the equivalent of £306 million every single day.
“And people just don’t know that” Liz said.
Furthermore, the collective quickly realised that, in fact, the government’s scheme wasn’t going to be enough to keep the industry afloat.
“There’s 3 million people in the country excluded from any kind of financial support and the way that the government has not supported certain freelancers and sole traders, I think is appalling.”
Liz was furloughed from her work as a contracted technician at the Everyman and Playhouse theatres and remembers building a set as news of the first National lockdown began to trickle in, along with the gradual realisation that there wasn’t going to be a show. Despite Liz being in a position where government support was available, many freelancers working on similar projects were not so lucky.
The key issue, Liz describes, is around the “ecology of the arts”. Despite government officials seemingly supporting the arts by ‘saving’ the Globe and the National Theatre, without proper support for the freelance workers who produce, write and act in the shows, the whole concept begins to crumble.
“In the arts you’re looking at a massive proportion of workers being freelance – it’s 50% across the whole creative industries and in theatre it’s 80%.”
Potential plans for tours and summer performances are also under threat, despite hopes being raised for much needed live performances after Boris’ announcement of his 4-step roadmap out of lockdown.
“I think there is real potential for a lot of outdoor work this summer, but Rishi Sunak is still delaying on insurance for outdoor events. They will only offer indemnity if it could be evidenced that there is a significant or catastrophic loss of market. I don’t know of any more catastrophic loss of market then there is existing right now.”
After six months of voluntary work, the March for the Arts collective took on a fourth member, Caitlin Clough and secured funding for a project they hope will continue to have a positive impact on the creative arts and solidify their necessity in Liverpool after the pandemic.
“This pandemic is offering us a pause and we can use it as a chance to change.”
Their current project is to create a ‘freelance working agreement’ and a ‘freelance directory’, by May 2021.
The working agreement will be designed and signed up to by freelancers and creative organisations, creating a best practice document for Liverpool’s creative industry and will be written by a committee of freelancers, organisational representatives and a member of the council.
“Everyone from the CEO of the biggest organisations in the city region, to the individual, working-three-jobs-a-week-freelancers want this project to happen and that’s what is really key for us.”
Meanwhile, the freelance directory will be a local document, filled with freelancers, not dissimilar to Spotlight in all but exclusivity and the existence of a paywall.
“A lot of organisations don’t advertise when they have jobs and a lot of organisations tend to fill jobs through nepotism and we want to challenge that.”
I’m gripped by Liz’s excitement about the upcoming project. In a city as culturally diverse and artistically driven as Liverpool, it seems the perfect setting for such a project. After a year of consistently negative news, the collective appears to give a ray of light to an industry so badly bruised.
“I’m not suggesting it’s a magical ‘one thing will fix everything’, but I really do feel going through a pandemic together gives you a sort of desire for more unity, more togetherness and a better push for a better environment.”
Though optimistic, the hope for a brighter future seems fitting as we embark on the next stages of the pandemic, with outdoor event pilots set to begin as early as April 12th.
In the midst of England’s third National lockdown it is easy to become uninspired, but Liverpool is brimming with charming parks and hidden walks to explore. From a walk in the park, a stroll along the prom, or a jog through the ‘Ralla’, here’s our top daily exercise spots.
1. Everton Brow
Though on the smaller side, Everton Brow is not to be disregarded as a choice of location for an early morning or evening walk. The surrounding area is rich in culture and from the Stadium, to the Water Tower, or even the city centre itself, Everton has a lot to offer. Catching the sunrise or sunset across the city of Liverpool will make any exercise more bearable.
Nothing quite beats the feeling of being by the sea and that’s no different, whatever the weather, at Crosby Beach. Walk, or jog, along the 3km of sand or promenade and you’ll be greeted by the famous cast iron sculptures moulded from the artist himself, Anthony Gormley.
Liverpool’s loop line, affectionately called the ‘Ralla’, is an old, disused rail line which stems through Liverpool. The path starts in Halewood and continues for 10 miles towards Aintree, with plenty of nature and architecture to keep you entertained on the walk. The relatively flat pathway makes it the perfect place to walk, jog or cycle and though popular, is never overcrowded.
Princes Park in Toxteth, though only a stone’s throw away from the better-known Sefton Park, has all the quirks you’d want to enjoy whilst exercising. The park boasts the remains of the former Grade II listed boathouse alongside the fishing lake. For those looking for a longer walk, this is the perfect addition to a walk around Sefton Park.
In any weather, the Liverpool to Leeds canal is visually stunning. The flat surface is perfect for joggers or walkers and though the length of the canal would eventually lead you cross country, there’s plenty to explore more locally. To create a loop, turn back on yourself at one of the bridge points and keep an eye out for the beautifully decorated canal boats.
A much loved feature of Liverpool is quite rightly the River Mersey, home to the Albert Dock and Mersey ferry. The stretch of promenade spans almost 5 miles with breath-taking views of the water. This well-known spot is great for cyclists, joggers and dog-walkers alike.
In the New Year, Williamson Gallery are proud to exhibit one of Ralph Steadman’s immense pieces, alongside recent limited edition giclee prints from his latest publication Critical Critters. Come along from the 4th January till the 27th January to witness his talent first-hand.
Born in 1936, Ralph Steadman’s life began in Wallasey, Cheshire, before relocating to North Wales, where he spent his childhood years. As a world renowned Artist, Steadman’s life had a humble beginning, with his profound talent evident from a young age. In his early twenties Steadman travelled south, attending East Ham Technical College and London College of Printing during the 1960s. During this time, Steadman also began producing freelance work for a multitude of established magazines, including Private Eye, Punch, the Daily Telegraph and Rolling Stone.
However, his world success came from his long-term partnership with American Journalist Hunter S. Thompson, with Steadman illustrating his celebrated novel Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Following the success of the novel and its later film adaptation, Steadman’s work was put on the map, his talent recognised on a global scale. He then went on to collaborate with writers including Ted Hughes, Adrian Mitchell and Brian Patten, illustrating popular editions of Alice in Wonderland, Treasure Island and Animal Farm.
Among the British public, Steadman is most well known for his iconic branding for wine retailers Oddbins, and his designs for a set of four British postage stamps, commemorating the appearance of Halley’s Comet in 1985. His success has led him to win a multitude of awards, including Illustrator of the Year from the American Institute of Graphic Arts, and the Francis Williams Book Illustration award.
In recent years Steadman continues to create and contribute his talent, running prose and poetry in Kotori magazine, and providing illustrations for the Birdlife International Preventing Extinctions programme. Last year he also penned the artwork for music artists Travis Scott and Quavo, on their joint project Huncho Jack.
After regrettably selling one of his original illustrations to Rolling Stone for the minor sum of $75, Steadman has since largely refused to sell any of his original artwork, and has instead kept possession of the vast bulk of his original work for his archive. Despite this, in celebration of their special 90th year anniversary, Williamson Gallery (for a limited time only) will be proudly exhibiting one of Steadman’s immense paintings in the New Year.
Next year, the Walker Art Gallery is honoured to present the Making the Glasgow Style exhibition, based on the lifetime of work from Charles Rennie Mackintosh and his contemporaries between 1890 and 1920.
Born in 1868, Charles Rennie Mackintosh was a Scottish architect, designer, water colourist and artist. Born in Glasgow, Mackintosh took inspiration from his Scottish upbringing and blended them with the flourish of Art Nouveau and the simplicity of Japanese forms, leading to the key artistic movement that became known as The Glasgow Style; the birthplace of the only Art Nouveau movement in the United Kingdom.
During the industrial revolution, Glasgow had one one of the greatest production centres of heavy engineering and shipbuilding in the world, exposing the city to Japanese navy and training engineers. As the city grew and prospered, industrialised, mass-produced items started to gain popularity. At the same time, a new philosophy concerned with creating functional and practice design was emerging throughout Europe: the so-called modernist ideas. Spending most of his life in Glasgow located on the banks of the River Clyde, Mackintosh was able to witness the cities expansion and due to this, the Industrial Revolution, Asian style and emerging modernist ideas became the key influences of his designs.
The Japanese art style was admired by Mackintosh because of its restraint and economy of means, its simple forms and natural materials, and the use of texture, light and shadow, all of which opposed to traditional British styles. Following this Mackintosh began to pioneer a new modernist Art Nouveau movement, though his designs were far removed from the bleak utilitarianism of Modernism. His aim was to build around the needs of people, seeing them as individuals who needed not a machine for living in but a work of art.
Around 1892, Mackintosh met his wife whilst studying evening classes at the Glasgow School of Art. He worked with his future wife Margaret MacDonald, her sister Frances MacDonald, and Herbert MacNair during this time, and they eventually became known as a collaborative group, The Glasgow Four, becoming prominent figures in Glasgow Style art and design. The couple eventually married in 1900. While working in architecture, Mackintosh began to develop his own style separate from the movement: a contrast between strong right angles and floral inspired decorative motifs with subtle curves, e.g. the Mackintosh Rose motif. However, the majority if not all his detailing were designed by his wife Margaret Macdonald. Mackintosh eventually gained an international reputation for his project the Glasgow School of Art.
Later in life, disillusioned with architecture, Mackintosh worked largely as a water colourist, painting numerous landscapes and flower studies, often in collaboration with Margaret, with whose which Mackintosh’s style gradually converged. By 1923, the Mackintoshes had moved to Port-Vendres, a Mediterranean coastal town in southern France with a warm climate that was a comparably cheaper location in which to live. By this point, Mackintosh had entirely abandoned architecture and design, and was instead concentrating on watercolour painting, focusing on the relationships between man-made and naturally occurring landscapes. The couple remained in France for two years, before being forced to return to London in 1927 due to illness.
That year, Mackintosh was diagnosed with cancer, and after a brief recovering later died in 1928, at the age of 60. Following his death Mackintosh’s designs gained popularity in the decades following. His House for an Art Lover was built in Glasgow’s Bellahouston Park in 1996, and the University of Glasgow (which owns most of his watercolour work) rebuilt the interior of a terraced house Mackintosh had designed, and furnished it with his and Margaret’s work.
The 2019 Making the Glasgow Style exhibition will present objects from Glasgow Museums and the Mitchell Library and Archives, as well as loans from private and public collections, with more than 250 objects on display. Come and check out Mackintosh’s exclusive pieces from the 15th March 2019 till the 26th August, for just £8.
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