We’re Celebrating 20 Years

June 30, 2016 in Slideshow

Green Close, a UK leading rural arts organisation based in the heart of Melling, near Lancashire is celebrating their 20 year anniversary.

Established and founded by Artistic Directors Sue and Pete Flowers in 1996, the original aim of the organisation was to provide quality affordable studio space for practicing, professional visuals artists in a rural community.

Now with over two decades experience of working in the arts, Green Close delivers hugely innovative and ambitious visual arts programmes for the public and private sector.

Working with artists from across the globe, environmentalists, school and university students, local communities, heritage and mental health groups and old people to name but a few, their mission is to make impact and positive change to people’s lives through creative thinking and practice.

The Lancashire Witches 400 project, which saw the creation of a 51-mile long distance walk to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the persecution and subsequent hanging of people accused of witchcraft in 1612, has been one of our most successful projects. Working with Britain’s Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy, the project attracted interest from over 68,000 people.

Sue Flowers, Artistic Director of Green Close said: “Working rurally, we have always been on the edge of the North West’s cultural offer, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t intrinsic to it.

“It’s a very challenging time for the arts, but the diverse nature of our organisation means we are able to continue to thrive and grow. We have always worked with young people and encouraged early career artists to work with us; this ensures our projects move forward with their needs and those of the communities we work with.”

Green Close are looking forward to demonstrating its impact in Lancashire and across the region in the coming months. They have a series of celebratory exhibitions planned for the autumn and intend to be commissioning artists from Spain to create unique public artworks in a new collaboration with Lancaster University Department of European Languages and Cultures.

Sue’s Bold Step to Supporting Mental Health Research

June 30, 2016 in Slideshow

Green Close’s Artistic Director Sue Flowers has made a bold step to use some of her many talents to support health research at Lancaster University’s Spectrum Centre for Mental Health Research.

Whilst continuing with her creative practice and the management of Green Close, she has chosen to spend some of her work time to support a new online study for relatives and friends of people with bipolar and psychosis (including schizophrenia).

The study is called REACT –The Relatives Education And Coping Toolkit, which makes a huge range of new resources available online; from information about different treatment options, de – mystifying the complexity of mental health service provision and how best to manage very difficult and challenging situations, which for many relatives, may be the first time they have ever experienced complex mental health illnesses.

Sue’s mother was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, formerly known as manic depression, in the late eighties; so she knows all too well the challenges this condition brings with it and the suffering it may cause for individuals and those who are close to them.

She said “We’ve had so many negative experiences as a family, I decided now was a good time to try and turn them around, using them to help and support others. It’s been fascinating working using my lived experiences within an academic context, and of course I’ve brought my creative knowledge into the team.”

Sue’s new role means she is enjoying using her writing talents to support others through accessing information and expressing themselves; and she has also created a number of beautiful illustrations for the online toolkit.

For further information and to register for the study go to www.reacttoolkit.co.uk; Twitter @REACTTOOLKIT; Facebook https://www.facebook.com/REACTtoolkit/

As part of the REACT team, Sue is also inviting relatives, friends and service users to submit their artwork and poetry as a creative way of sharing their experiences of bipolar and psychosis: if you would like to submit your work please email reactsupporter@lancaster.ac.uk

The REACT study is being led by Clinical Psychologist, Professor Fiona Lobban who said:

“I have spent many years working in the NHS and was struck by the high levels of distress and frustration experienced by relatives. Although national clinical guidelines recommend relatives are given lots of support, in reality they often don’t get what they need.”

 

Lancaster Priory Churchyard Community Project

January 28, 2016 in Slideshow

With funding from the Lancashire Environment Fund and support from local volunteers, Green Close have been involved in a local community project in the lower half of the historic churchyard of Lancaster Priory Church.

The ancient churchyard walls are being restored after years of vandalism and existing memorials have been cleaned, tree removal has opened up the space with over 22,000 bulbs having been planted, transforming the area into an accessible, contemplative space for the community.

To celebrate this work, a new memorial by local stone carver Alan Ward, in the style of the old stone tombs, was unveiled at an event in the churchyard on Friday 22nd April, to mark the fact that in this ancient burial ground “lie the bones of the people of Lancaster.”

The work has been made possible thanks to a unique collaboration between Lancaster Priory Church, Green Close, Lancashire County Council Environment and Community Projects and Lancaster City Council, through the “Beyond the Castle” project.

The vicar of Lancaster, The Revd Chris Newlands said: “The Priory, and indeed the wider community owes a great deal of gratitude to all those who have made this work possible, restoring the beauty and peace of the churchyard, so that all may enjoy this perfect setting, where people have gathered for over 1,300 years to reflect on life and eternity.”

Sue Flowers, Director of Green Close added: “After months of hard work fundraising and planning for this formerly neglected space, we are delighted that all our efforts have finally paid off. It has been a real pleasure to work within such a dedicated committed team. This important heritage site has lots of potential, and we hope we can continue to use creative practices to enable more community involvement in the future vision for the regeneration of the area.”

A display profiling the transformation of the site, featuring images by local photographer Darren Andrews, will be on display in the Priory from Tuesday 19th April to Monday 30th May.

CVAN Critical Writing Success for Director at Green Close

September 24, 2015 in Slideshow

Our very own Director, Sue Flowers has recently completed the Contemporary Visual Arts Network‘s North West Critical Writing programme funded by Arts Council England.

A bursary of £300 enabled Sue to undertake a series of six critical writing workshops in the North West to produce a short exhibition review and a longer feature piece.

Expanding her interest in critical discourse, Sue wrote 2 short review pieces; one on a performance by Dr John Cooper Clarke renowned punk-poet-pioneer who recently performed at Bentham and the second, a review piece of an exhibition at The Harris Museum and Art Gallery in Preston titled ‘A Green and Pleasant Land?’

Sue’s feature piece titled ‘Why #writecritical?’ looks at what has been written about the visual arts over the last few centuries, and her participation in the critical writing bursary programme. This feature piece has also been included in a new book “On Being Curious” New Critical Writing on Contemporary Art from the North West of England.

Published by The Double Negative on behalf of CVAN NW, the book which includes 10 new articles on contemporary art from 10 emerging writers, tells the story of the North West’s contemporary visual art scene, yet contributes to national and international debates around what it means to make powerful, arresting and effective arts practice.

A copy of the book can be downloaded for FREE by clicking on this link: http://www.thedoublenegative.co.uk/2016/05/on-being-curious-our-first-in-house-book-on-contemporary-arts-criticism/

The review pieces have also been published on The Double Negative website and can be viewed by following the links below:-

http://www.thedoublenegative.co.uk/2015/08/as-acerbic-and-honest-as-ever-john-cooper-clarke-live-reviewed

http://www.thedoublenegative.co.uk/2015/08/a-green-and-pleasant-land-rural-reality-questioned-at-the-harris/

and the longer piece features on Art in Liverpool – http://www.artinliverpool.com/why-writecritical

Sue has also recently started her own blog site titled ‘Arts Voices

Fired Up to Make a Difference

September 24, 2015 in Events, First Fridays, Slideshow

Light Up Lancaster returned on Friday 6th & Saturday 7th November as part of Lancaster Arts City First Friday’s events and included an exciting pilot project with Green Close who invited experienced sculptures of ‘Fallas’ from Valencia in Spain to share their skills and culture with artists and communities in our city.

Artist D. Mario Gual from Valencia, Spain (http://www.mariogualdelolmo.com/web); Srta Montse Catalá – Vice President of Communication Junta Central Fallera, Valencia (http://www.fallasfromvalencia.com/en) and Dr Carmen Ríos García, from Lancaster University Department of European Languages and Cultures joined artists from Green Close and members of the general public for ‘A Falla for Lancaster’ hosted in The Thomas Storey Room at The Storey Institute.

The workshop drew a huge crowd and over 100 adults and children attended. People spent time designing a Fallas for Lancaster and came up with a number of suggestions for where the Fallas could be positioned in the city.

Take a look at this great video on YouTube, created by artist D. Mario Gual which highlights their visit to Lancaster: https://youtu.be/_Ug2ZdJb_8E 

Note: The Fallas (or Falles) is a traditional celebration, held in commemoration of San José, the Patron Saint of carpenters. Dating back from the Middle Ages when carpenters used to hang up planks of wood called ‘parots’ in the winter to support their candles when they were working, and the onset of spring when these pieces of wood would be burned as a way of celebrating the end of dark, winter working days.

All images copyright ‘Junta Central Fallera’ – the Fallas Festival Organizing Committee. With special thanks to Srta Montse Catalá – Vice President of Communication Junta Central Fallera, Valencia, Spain and Dr Carmen Ríos García, from Lancaster University Department of European Languages and Cultures - www.fallasfromvalencia.com/en

For more information about the Falla For Lancaster Project please contact Green Close - T: 015242 21233 or  E: info@greenclose.org          

 

 

 

 

 

Green Close Supports Lancaster Priory Churchyard Project

July 28, 2015 in Events, Slideshow

Green Close are delighted to announce their involvement in a local project to develop a new community facility, situated in the lower churchyard of the Priory Church of St Mary’s in Lancaster.

The project has been made possible by investment from the Lancashire Environment Fund and is being delivered in association with Lancashire County Council and Lancaster City Council. It will create an accessible, contemplative, open-lit space with new pathways, seating and floral gardens; opening up the lower part of the churchyard, to create a much needed new resource, connecting to the Quay Meadows sites, increasing public access and re-landscaping an overgrown, neglected area.

Support from members of the local community will be essential, offering volunteer labour and help in selecting exact locations of focal points, benches and planting.

The Revd Chris Newlands, Vicar of Lancaster said: “I am delighted that this initiative will focus on the ancient churchyard of Lancaster Priory. So much of the history of our city is focused in this area and we hope that this project will both beautify and preserve it for use by the local community for many years to come”.

Sue Flowers, Artistic Director of Green Close added: “This is a fantastic redevelopment project, to create a new public space that encourages further heritage-led regeneration for Lancaster. We are pleased to support this project and look forward to helping provide a space for the local community to relax and enjoy one of Lancaster’s most historic landscapes”.

If you are interested in getting involved or finding out more about how you can engage with the project, please contact Green Close at E: info@greenclose.org or by telephone on 01524 221233.

On completion, Lancaster City Council has confirmed the on-going maintenance of the site

Small Village: Big Story

July 20, 2015 in Events, Slideshow

Small Village: Big Story is an exciting new art and heritage project led by Green Close that will research in detail the forgotten histories of rural villages in the Lune Valley, creating a new project archive and on-line resource for members of the public.

We intend to work with Lancaster City Museum, Lancashire Archives, The North West Centre for Regional Studies and expert historians of rural history to make this possible.

Do you know anyone that has an interesting collection of rural memorabilia and artefacts? Or anyone who would like to tell their story about village life, then we’d love to hear from them!

For the chance to chat with us, or for further information, please contact artists Sue or Pete Flowers at their studios in Melling on T: 015242 21233 or E: info@greenclose.org

International Day for Epilepsy Awareness.

March 26, 2015 in Events, Slideshow

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Purple Day on March 26th is the international day for epilepsy awareness. As you can see from our photo, this is a cause very close to our hearts!

Although fundraising is part of the day, the main aim is to raise awareness of the condition so wearing purple and talking about epilepsy is what we are encouraging people to do.

Epilepsy affects one in every hundred people and yet it is barely referenced in the media. So let’s encourage people to talk about it and reduce the stigma and ignorance.

Epilepsy affects 600,000 people in the UK. For every 6 out of 10 cases of epilepsy, there is no known cause. It is something that can happen to anybody. Some types of epilepsy start when you are very young, and some in later life. Some types last for a short time and other types can last for the whole of your life. 1 in every 1000 people with epilepsy will die in a sudden, unexpected death.

Money raised will help Epilepsy Action, the UK’s leading epilepsy charity, to improve the lives of people affected by epilepsy and their families, and to fund research into this condition.

www.epilepsy.org.uk

Bowland Revealed – Working with Artists in Schools

October 16, 2014 in Bowland Revealed, Slideshow

Local artists & schools in Bowland have been working together on a Looking Backwards-Looking Forwards Project to Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Forest of Bowland as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

Our Bowland Revealed Artists in Schools programme proved to be a great success with pupils, teachers and artists!

Four professional artists with strong links to the local area have spent the last few months working with children from local primary and high schools, to design a banner that celebrates the 50th Anniversary of the Forest of Bowland as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

After months of creativity and hard work, the school sessions culminated in a piece of artwork that was photographed and turned into a banner.

The 5 banners have been on display in the Education Room at the Platform Gallery in Clitheroe from 25th-27th November and will tour Bowland AONB as part of the Bowland Revealed celebrations.

Creativity Within the Beauty Exhibition

September 25, 2014 in Bowland Revealed, Slideshow

The arts and crafts within and around The Forest of Bowland are as unique, diverse and beautiful as the wildlife, landscape, habitats and eco-systems, which the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) represents and cares for.

2014 saw the 50th Anniversary of The Forest of Bowland being designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, providing us with the inspiration for this unique opportunity to showcase the artistic talent found within and inspired by this stunning landscape.

An exhibition portraying the beauty of The Forest of Bowland will open at The Platform Gallery in Clitheroe from 24th January to 11th April and the Artroom Gallery in Garstang from 29th January to 12th May.

Artists featuring at The Platform Gallery & Artroom are:

Andy Latham  - Photography

Caroline Heap – Pen

Graham Lowe – Charcoal

Julie Miles – Ceramics

Pat Ellacott – Pencil & Watercolour

Salina Somalya – Anodized Aluminium

Also at The Platform Gallery:

Dermod Ruddock – Oli, Acrylic & Watercolour Paintings

Goshia Gibek – Painting

Janet Robinson – Oil Painting

Jane Wallbank – Textiles

Jill Wright – Mixed Media

Margaret Swift – Photo Montage

Michael Critchley – Photography & Graphic Design

Norman Kelly – Calligraphy

Sue Flowers – Pencil & Paper

Also at The Artroom:

Susan Byrne – Textiles