Posted: July 18, 2018
Art is Central #ParkStreetUnleashed
On Sunday 8 July, the City Centre BID team planned a family-friendly art event on the iconic Park Street. During the day seven current or former Gromit Unleashed artists decorated shop fronts and canvases, with visitors able to enjoy a street party on traffic free streets. Called #ParkStreetUnleashed, the all day event was organised to coincide with the Bristol Grand Prix, and celebrate the launch of Gromit Unleashed 2.
Gromit Unleashed 2 is the third Aardman trail organised in partnership with the animator and the Grand Appeal. The annual campaign raises millions of pounds to support the life changing work of Bristol Children’s Hospital. This year Aardman fans can hunt for 60 sculptures of Wallace, Gromit and Feather McGraw across the city, all painted by local artists. All of us at the City Centre BID are proud to sponsor an incredible Wallace sculpture this year, which you can visit at The Cenotaph.
BRISTOL GRAND PRIX AND LET’S RIDE UK
On Sunday Bristol also welcomed Bristol Grand Prix. This year the televised event saw professional cyclists from across the UK and Europe race on a 6km course covering a large part of the city. The races took place in the morning, and were followed in the afternoon by a mass participation Let’s Ride cycling event that saw over eight thousand residents cycle on traffic free streets.
In June we ran a competition amongst our levy payers to win the opportunity to sponsor the Bristol Grand Prix. We asked levy-payers to choose their dream cycling team, and the reasons why. We received over 30 responses, which we were funny, charming and challenging.
You can read more about the winners here: https://bristolcitycentrebid.co.uk/bristol-gp-sponsorship-competition-winners/
We wanted to take advantage of the road closures, and increased visitor numbers to benefit our local businesses. We worked closely with the Bristol Grand Prix team to develop our own event, Art is Central: #ParkStreetUnleashed.
ART IS CENTRAL #PARKSTREETUNLEASHED
We were inspired by Park Street, and focused on encouraging people to enjoy the closed road.
Our inspiration was to create an environment where visitors could enjoy Sunday in the city with friends and family while watching artists spraying and painting.
We wanted to introduce more colour to the area, to bring in more people, and to give them somewhere to sit and enjoy the day.
For three intensive weeks Vicky Bunt, our new Project Manager led the development of this event. Many stakeholders were involved to make Art is Central an event that could be enjoyed by everybody and a success for the area.
Vicky was joined by project manager Becky Rock-Evans to help develop the event, liaise with businesses and to ensure its success in such a short timescale. The team contacted the agents for empty premises on the streets, building owners as well as local artists and local businesses. They worked with Bristol copywriting and marketing agency 42group and IST Digital Marketing to develop a marketing and communications strategy, and create visuals for the event.
SUNDAY 8TH JULY – IT’S HAPPENING!
The day began with the BID team setting up the scene with a hundred seats and a gazebo to host the music and drawing tools for kids. Vicky, Becky, Pauline, Mick, Byron and Iona were going up and down the hilly street organising the furniture while the cyclists taking part in the GP race were getting ready in and out of their team vans. It wasn’t a standard morning on Park Street seeing these motivated participants pinning their numbers on their cycling lycra in the middle of the street.
It was a good match for England but a great shame to see our beautiful city in a rare but really poor state early Sunday morning with vomit, urine, broken glass and litter everywhere.
Each main area in the centre was very dirty, and it is always frustrating to witness this outcome while exciting initiatives are taking place.
They spent two hours carefully setting up Park Street for the event, avoiding vomit and broken glass to position the beanbags and long chairs. Once the artists began to arrive the atmosphere changed for better.
The event officially started when the artists started to draw, graffiti and paint their locations.
At the bottom of the street The Knitted Pea was set up in the empty Cara London shop, (29 Park Street), and created an amazing and unique design inside the windows.
Some branches of her beautiful tree design were growing on to the main window. A very cool grass sofa welcomed visitors to sit and watch the progress of the artwork. It offered an amazing opportunity for visitors to get to know one of the Gromit Unleashed 2 artists.
Walking further up the street, we stopped at Bird & Blend, (73 Park Street), where the very sweet Hannah Bone was adding some more colours to this iconic location.
Bird and Blend Tea mixologist is situated in the corner of Park Street and Charlotte Street. The location is already home to some great art, including a piece by Jodie to welcome The Florist, (69 Park Street), and the famous Coat of Arms above Vincenzo’s, (71A Park Street).
Hannah spent the entire day painting, and presented a very colorful and jolly forest scene inside the shop window.
A few shops later we were able to enjoy an amazing view of Bristol from Friska (,87 Park Street), The café was offering drinks and nibble to taste, keeping visitors energised on this hot Sunday.
The talented Laura Hallett was located inside the coffee shop all day and focused on drawing featuring Cabot Tower, the Clifton Suspension Bridge as well as Bristol’s iconic and colourful houses.
On the opposite side of the street Yakinori, (78 Park Street), was having its windows pimped as well.
The great Paula Bowles started by drawing a cherry blossom tree inside the restaurant window which welcomed various forms of sushi and bubble tea characters later in the day on its branches.
Reaching the top of the street was an effort that was definitely worth it. Two internationally famous street artists were performing a quite pleasant show for the discerning audience.
The City Centre BID was hugely proud to welcome Cheba and Inkie to collaborate on a unique piece of graffiti outside the former Jamie’s Italian restaurant building, (89 Park Street).
The excitement began when large black boards were erected on Saturday, ready to be sprayed Sunday. We guessed that a big Park Street logo was going to be graffed onto a shiny galaxy background, the signature of the artist Cheba.
During the day, people were stopping and taking pictures of the work in progress. When we spoke with them, they were surprised and excited to discover that such a great event was taking place.
The showpiece work was incredibly successful, and captured the imagination of the public. We received an incredible amount of social media coverage, with the event featuring on radio, online and in print across the region.
After meeting all the artists there were plenty of places to chill and have a break. The cyclists who took part in the morning’s Grand Prix race were also enjoying the street party. There were lots of activities for kids, with the free chalk available for street art being really popular. We knew we could count on the children (and their parents) to add even more colour to what was already happening inside the shops’ windows, but were genuinely impressed with what they created.
Flowers, bees and lots of funny characters appeared on the usual dark tarmac of the usually busy Park Street. Becky and Vicky shopped local to offer creative tools to the kids and the artists, with Wilko and Cass Art the official providers.
Lots of people grabbed their lunch in the local businesses eating inside or outside. As the temperature approached 33 degrees, lots of refreshing drinks were drunk on that hot Sunday.
All sorts of street games were freely available for visitors to use, and it was great to see children, teenagers and adults taking part. Pencils and hundreds of Gromit, Wallace and Feather McGraw colouring sheets were given out, perfect to grab and colour in the shade of the gazebo. Lots of children loved the event, and found it hard to stop when it was time to walk back home.
We also had babies watching the party and it was really cute to see so many people making the most of a cheerful Park Street. It really showcased how amazing Park Street is, and to highlight the huge variety of shops, cafes and businesses that make it their home.
As the Let’s Ride event was drawing to a close, we saw some of the brave participants pushing their bikes to the top of the street. It was time for the City Centre BID team to pack up games, seats and gazebo and get Park Street ready for a busy Sunday evening.
Feedback from those we spoke to was encouraging, with many telling us that this kind of event should happen more often.
Lots of thank yous were received from people who were giving their seats back to the team and leaving to grab a cocktail in a bar nearby (the day wasn’t finished for everybody!).
As we packed up a few vans were leaving, driving slowly and safely to reach the top of the street. It felt a bit sudden to slow down the party at 4:00pm when the street was cooler and in shade, but we thought that such enthusiasm was really positive for a first summer event in the area.
We hope you enjoyed the first in our Art is Central events. We’re planning a programme of art events to benefit the whole City Centre BID area, and can’t wait to deliver more events like this one.
Please share your pictures of the day on social media and use #ParkStreetUnleashed2, #GU2, #GromitUnleashed and #BristolBID.
Please send your comments and feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org we’d love to hear from you.
Photos: Jon Craig and Pauline Gendre