Together & Apart was the title of an exhibition of work by local artists and art organisations who had all received emergency support from Wakefield during the first lockdown in 2020. The council encouraged the artists to explore their creative responses to the impact of the unprecedented situation on the lives of the local community in Wakefield.
Initially the emergency grants for the 17 local creatives – 2Sure Threads, Ali Bullivent, Bev Adams, CAPA College, CoActive Arts, Eastmoor Community Project, foh-toh, Merrie Collective, One to One Development Trust, Phoetry, Rachel List, Rhubarb Design House, Seanna Doonan, Social-i-Sing, Spectrum People, Stride Theatre and Tony Wade – saw creativity being delivered virtually with online sessions, and the artists and groups chronicling the experience of the pandemic remotely. As the work moved forward, however, and the pandemic continued, the council recognised the importance of the diverse work being produced and started to develop the idea for a public exhibition to heighten engagement.
The artists and organisations engaged with nearly 300 hundred people in the local community in their creative processes, for example:
Wakefield has never previously provided emergency grants to the creative sector. The critical investment of £53,000 into the district’s creative sector was a step-change for the Council and many of the creatives were new to the Council. The exhibition played a vital role in commemorating difficult losses, remembering and celebrating resilience, and offering a hopeful vision for a connected and caring community going forward.
As the first event held by the Council after the 2021 lockdown, the exhibition was the start of Wakefield Council’s commitment to community engagement and creativity in Wakefield’s ambition to “Build Back Better.”